Brown Soda Bread and Scones


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


Appears in

Simply Delicious: Book 1

Simply Delicious

By Darina Allen

Published 1989

  • About

Bicarbonate of soda (or bread soda) is the raising agent used in all soda breads. It is an alkali, and even though it is one of the ingredients used in baking powder, it can be used on its own to react with an acid, e.g. sour milk or buttermilk. This produces bubbles of carbonic acid which fill up with air and rise the bread. So the main thing to remember is: use bicarbonate of soda (bread soda) with buttermilk or sour milk, and baking powder—which is a mixture of acid and alkali substances — with ordinary milk.


  • 675 g/ lbs/ cups brown wholemeal flour (preferably stone-ground)
  • 450 g/1 lb/ cups white flour
  • 30 g/1 oz/¼ cup fine oatmeal
  • 1 egg (optional)
  • 30 g/1 oz/¼ stick butter (optional)
  • 10 g/2 rounded teasp./2 American teasp. salt
  • 10 g/2 rounded teasp./2 American teasp. bread soda, sieved
  • 730–860 ml/1¼-1½ pints approx./25–30 fl ozs sour milk or buttermilk


First preheat the oven to 230°C/450°F/regulo 8.

Mix the dry ingredients well together. Rub in the butter. Make a well in the centre and add the beaten egg, then immediately add most of the sour milk or buttermilk. Working from the centre, 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 5 cm/2 inches approx. Put onto a baking sheet. Mark with a deep cross and bake in a hot oven 230°C/450°F/regulo 8 for 15–20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 200°C/400°F/regulo 6 for approx. 20–25 minutes, or until the bread is cooked and sounds hollow when tapped.

In this section