I always say I’m a cook, not a baker. I don’t enjoy baking, or more precisely, I’m no good at it. Bread baking is an activity best suited for the dutiful and patient. I am neither.

But there’s one type of bread I do bake—a quick bread called Irish Soda Bread that requires no yeast and no proofing. In fact, it can be mixed together in minutes. That makes it ideal for quarantine cooking!

Irish Soda Bread

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 cups buttermilk (if you don’t have buttermilk, just add about a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to regular milk)

Preheat the oven to 400°.

If you don’t have buttermilk, add the vinegar the milk and let rest for a minute while you combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Whisk together the dry ingredients.

Make a well in the center and pour in the soured milk. Mix lightly with a fork until the dough comes together.

Tip the dough out of the mixing bowl onto a floured surface, flour your hands and then gently knead the dough a couple of times (less than a minute). Cut the dough in two equal pieces.

Shape each pile into round loaves (the dough will be very sticky, don’t worry about it looking perfect!) and place on a baking sheet (covered in parchment or non-stick foil).

Use a sharp knife to cut a deep cross into the top of each loaf.

Place in the oven and bake for about 35 minutes. Let cool on a rack before serving.

Note: I prefer plain soda bread but you can add raisins, dried fruit, nuts, and caraway seeds to this bread.

Best served with corned beef and cabbage!