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I've been making soda bread since "the last century" after several visits to Ireland. You may enjoy my blog post about that - I do think I was Irish in another life!

I've updated this page since I finally found the "last century" recipe I used to use from the now defunct Gourmet Magazine.

The second recipe from America's Test Kitchen (ATK) All Time Best Bread Recipes has a few more ingredients. They work hard testing to arrive at the best recipe - though I admit to having a soft spot for the Gourmet version I made so often! 

Getting ready (same for both):

  • adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat oven to 375 F (for Gourmet) or 400 F (for ATK)
  • line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper
  • whisk together dry ingredients
  • "make" buttermilk if you don't have any - see Notes below

Gourmet Version

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 TB sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

1.5 cups buttermilk and 1 TB melted butter

Follow all the steps outlined below, except bake for only 40 minutes at 375 F.


America's Test Kitchen Version

2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups (8 1/4 ounces) whole wheat flour
1/2 cup (1 3/4 ounces) toasted wheat germ
3 TB sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

Whisk together the following dry ingredients in a large bowl.


1 3/4 cups buttermilk
2 (plus 1) TB unsalted butter, melted

Combine buttermilk and 2 tablespoons melted butter in a 2 cup liquid measuring cup. Add buttermilk mixture to flour and stir with spatula until dough comes together. If the dough does not quite come together, add a bit more buttermilk - carefully, 1 TB at a time.

Transfer dough to lightly floured counter and knead until a cohesive mass forms - about eight turns. (It may take more than 8 turns - but do not over-knead.) Pat dough into 7 inch round and transfer to prepared sheet. Using sharp serrated knife cut 1/4" deep cross, about 5 inches long, into top of loaf. Bake until skewer inserted in centre comes out clean and loaf registers 195 degrees, 45 to 50 minutes (though see my Notes below), rotating halfway. Tapping on the bottom of the loaf should render a hollow sound.

Remove from oven. Brush with remaining 1 TB butter. Transfer to wire rack and let cool for at least 1 hour befoe serving.


Notes and Tips...

  • Toasted Wheat Germ -  recipe claims that this is key to the desired flavour, but wheat germ can be substituted with wheat bran or ground flax-seed, or even whole wheat flour.
  • Spatula - works best if it is a firm, not soft, pliable, spatula
  • Buttermilk - no buttermilk?? Make your own following this "formula" - add 1 TB of lemon juice or vinegar to a cup of milk and let it stand for about 10 minutes. [Read more}
  • Cross Cut - I made mine a bit too deep - does not affect flavour ;-)
  • Done - my old recipe said to bake for 40 minutes until loaf sounded hollow when tapped; the ATK recipe suggested a longer time to an internal temperature of 195. I pulled mine out at 50 minutes even though the temp was only 185 - top was just beginning to burn - eek.
  • For KB Recipe Attribution Practices please click here.

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