A little bit of Ballymaloe!


So this is the first post to this blog in a while ... I wonder why ! A number of people have been asking me to post something from Ballymaloe ... and I decided on something very simple and very good ... White Soda Bread ... if this bread is done right (and that's not that difficult) it is quick and so tasty ... even the next day toasted it is excellent! 

This is a recipe we use at the school ... but I first came across it in the actual Ballymaloe Cookery School cookbook years ago ... for anyone enjoying my 12 week course blog ... this book contains the majority (if not all) of recipes that we are using on a daily basis ... there is no secret ingredients that are left out or something they are not telling you ... there are copies of this book in all the kitchens here at Ballymaloe, so if we have time during your mornings work we can knock up one of the recipes from the book! 

To Buy the book ... click on photos to go to my amazon link

White Soda Bread


450g white flour (preferably unbleached)
1 level teaspoon of salt
1 level teaspoon bread soda
Sour milk or buttermilk to mix 350-400ml


What to do ...

  1. First fully preheat your oven to 230oC
  2. Sieve the dry ingredients.
  3. Make a well in the centre.
  4. Pour most of the milk in at once.
  5. Using one hand, mix in the flour from the sides of the bowl, adding more milk if necessary. The dough should be softish, not too wet and sticky.
  6. When it all comes together, turn it out onto a well floured worked surface. 
  8. Tidy the dough up and flip over gently.
  9. Pat the dough into a round about 1 1/2 inches (4cm) deep
  10. Cut a cross on it to ... "let the fairies out"
  11. Let the cuts go over the sides of the bread to make sure of this.
  12. Bake in a hot oven, 230oC for 15 minutes,
  13. Then turn down the oven to 200oC for 30 minutes or until cooked.
  • If you are in doubt, tap the bottom of the bread: if it is cooked it will sound hollow.

You can also experiment with this bread, trying out different variations and uses. It's also great with olives, sun dried tomatoes or caramelized onions added, so the possibilities are endless for the this humble soda bread. Even turning them into scones ...here's a couple of ideas ... (all from the lady herself)

Cheddar Cheese Soda Bread

Egg wash the surface of the bread, mark into 6-8 wedges. Scatter with 4oz (110g) grated cheddar cheese and bake as above.

White Soda Scones

Make the dough as above but flatten the dough into a round 1 inch (2.5cm) deep approx. Cut into scones. Cook for 20 minutes approx. in a hot oven (see above).

White Soda Bread with Herbs

Add 2 tablespoons of freshly chopped herbs eg. rosemary or sage, thyme, chives, parsley, lemon balm to the dry ingredients and continue as above. Shape into a loaf or scones and bake as for soda bread.

Cheddar Cheese Scones or Herb and Cheese Scones

110g grated mature Cheddar cheese, egg wash

Make the White Soda bread or herb dough. Stamp into scones, brush the top of each one with egg wash and then dip into grated cheddar cheese, bake as for soda scones, or use to cover the top of a casserole or stew.

Cheddar Cheese and Thyme Leaf Scones

Substitute thyme leaves for mixed herbs in above recipe.

Rosemary and Olive Scones

Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of chopped fresh rosemary and 2 tablespoons roughly chopped stoned black olives to the dry ingredients and proceed as in the master recipe.

Rosemary and Sundried Tomatoes

Add 1-2 tablespoons of chopped rosemary, 2 tablespoons of chopped sundried tomatoes to the flour and continue as in the basic recipe. Form into a loaf of bread or scones.

Olive Scones

Make a white soda bread dough with or without herbs. Flatten into a 1 inch (2 1/2 cm) square. Dot the top with whole olives. Brush generously with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, cut into square scones and bake as above.

Rosemary and Raisin

Add 75g raisins and 2 tablespoons chopped rosemary to the basic recipe.

Curry and Sultana Bread

Add 1-2 teaspoons of curry powder and 75g sultanas to the basic recipe.

Seedy Bread

Add 2 tablespoons of caraway seeds to the dry ingredients in the basic recipe.