4cupsAll-Purpose Flour (regular or gluten-free measure-for-measure flour blend)
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place an oven rack near the top of the oven.
In a large mixing bowl mix together the flour, salt, baking soda and sugar. Make a well in the center. NOTE: Do not pour in the buttermilk until the oven has come to temperature.
Add the buttermilk and quickly mix the ingredients together with a cooking spoon to form a soft dough.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
Knead the dough enough to form a round loaf about 3-inches tall. SEE NOTES BELOW.
Place the loaf on a lightly floured baking sheet.
Dip a knife in some flour and make a cross on the top (one line across the middle in two directions) about 1-inch deep.
Place the baking sheet with the loaf in the oven on the adjusted rack near the top. Bake for 30-45 minutes until the loaf is lightly golden on top. When baked if you tap the bottom of the loaf it will sound hollow.
Allow to cool on a rack for 5 minutes. Then wrap in a clean kitchen towel. This will help the crust from becoming too hard.
PRO TIP - Add the Buttermilk when the oven is at 450 degreesThe chemical reaction between the baking soda and buttermilk begins immediately so don't add the buttermilk until the oven is ready. This makes the time short between assembling the bread and baking it.*Working the DoughIf using traditional all-purpose flour (gluten flour) overworking the dough will make it tough. But if it isn’t kneaded a bit it won’t rise properly. It does NOT need to be kneaded like yeast bread.When is the Soda Bread 'done'?Inserting a toothpick is not a reliable indicator of when this bread is done baking. It will be golden brown on the top and when the bottom is tapped with your knuckles it will sound hollow. The loaf in the photos baked 40 minutes.PRO TIP - Wrap in a Kitchen TowelAfter the bread has cooled on a rack for 5 minutes, wrap it snugly in a clean kitchen towel to completely cool. This helps the crust from becoming overly hard.Gluten-free Flour RecommendationIf baking this recipe gluten-free I recommend using Bob's Red Mill gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour.