This recipe comes to us from Darina Allen's Irish Traditional Cooking: Over 300 Recipes from Ireland's Heritage (Kyle Books; 2012). The baking tradition is one of the richest and most varied aspects of Ireland's culinary heritage. From earliest times, breadmaking was an integral part of daily life in almost every home, and it is now undergoing a huge revival across Ireland.
- 4 1⁄2 cups whole wheat flour (preferably stone ground)
- 4 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. (rounded tsp.) salt
- 2 tsp. (rounded tsp.) baking soda, sifted
- 3 1⁄2 - 4 cups buttermilk
Heat the oven to 450° F.
Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add most of the sour milk or buttermilk all in one go. Working from the center, mix with your hand, and add more milk if necessary. The dough should be soft but not sticky.
Turn out onto a floured board and knead lightly, just enough to shape into a round. Flatten slightly to about 2 inches deep. Put onto a floured baking sheet.
Mark with a deep cross and bake in the hot oven for 15–20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 400°F for about 20–25 minutes, or until the bread is cooked and sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack.
For scones, make the dough as above. Flatten the dough into a round about 1 inch deep. Cut into scones. Cook for about 20 minutes in a hot oven at 450°F.