Soda bread doesn’t rely on yeast to rise, so there’s no waiting for the bread to double and no heavy kneading. A chemical reaction between the baking soda and the acidic buttermilk gives a lift to this bread.
Kale is what gives this easy bread its emerald St. Paddy’s Day tint.
You’ll get one loaf from this recipe. It takes about 15 minutes to put all the ingredients together and about 40 minutes to bake.
- 1.5 cups buttermilk
- 2 cups (4-6 stalks) packed, torn kale with tough stems removed
- 2.5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1.25 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons butter (see notes)
Preheat the oven to 375° F. If you’re going to bake the bread in a Dutch oven or use a baking stone, but those in the oven to preheat as well.
Wash the kale thoroughly. Add it to a pot and barely cover it with water. Add half a teaspoon of salt to the water. (This helps keep the kale green.) Bring it to a boil and cook for about 5 minutes. Drain and cover with ice and cold water to stop further cooking.
While the kale is cooking put the flours, sugar, baking soda and salt in a large bowl and mix well. Add the butter and use your hands to rub it into the dry mixture until crumbly. Set aside.
When the kale is cool enough to handle, drain the ice water and squeeze it dry. Add it to a blend along with about half the buttermilk and blend until smooth. (Some pieces of kale are okay.)
Pour the kale-buttermilk mixture and any remaining buttermilk into the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix together with a wooden spoon. At a certain point, it may be easier to mix together with your hands.
When the ingredients are well combined, turn onto a clean, floured surface and knead a little bit to bring it all together. Remember, don’t overdo the kneading or your bread will come out flat. Add more flour if the dough is too sticky.
If you are going to bake the bread in a Dutch oven, shape the dough into a ball about 2″ tall. Put it on a piece of parchment paper for easy transfer to the Dutch oven. Slash the top with a serrated knife into an “X.” Keep the Dutch oven with the bread inside covered for the first 25 minutes of baking time, then remove the cover for the last 10 to 15 minutes.
If you are going to bake the bread in a loaf pan, shape it into a rectangle. Make a slash down the length of the top. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the outside is lightly browned.
Let the bread cool on a rack for at least 20 minutes before slicing.
- If you want to make this bread vegan, replace the buttermilk with soy milk and add 1.5 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice. Replace the butter with vegan butter.
- To make this bread gluten-free, replace the flours with a gluten-free all-purpose blend that contains xanthan gum.