Are you looking for the Mary Berry Soda Bread recipe? Soda bread is a hearty, wholesome bread that’s surprisingly easy and quick to make at home. While soda bread originates from Ireland, British baking star Mary Berry has popularized a version of this satisfying quick bread that’s become a favorite for tea time, breakfast, or any time a warm, fresh loaf is called for.
In this article, we’ll explore the Mary Berry Soda Bread recipe, why Mary Berry’s soda bread recipe stands out, provide a full ingredient list and step-by-step instructions, suggest serving ideas, and answer some common questions about baking this bread yourself. Even beginner bakers can master Mary Berry’s simple technique for flavorful homemade soda bread every time.
What Makes Mary Berry’s Soda Bread Special?
Soda bread gets its name from the main leavening ingredient – baking soda. This quick bread skips the yeast, requiring just baking soda, acid-like buttermilk, and some elbow grease to mix up the dough in minutes. While traditional Irish soda bread uses a minimum of ingredients, Mary Berry’s recipe stands out for producing a flavorful loaf with a touch of added sweetness.
Her soda bread contains raisins to add little bursts of sweetness to every bite. The acidity of buttermilk reacts with the baking soda for lift, while giving a tasty tang. A touch of sugar enhances the mild sweetness of raisins. With just these simple ingredients, plus flour and a pinch of salt, Mary Berry coaxes the wholesome goodness out of basic pantry items for an easy bread that’s still special enough to serve guests.
Now, let’s dive into the step-by-step process for making this classic loaf at home. Be sure to read the instructions fully before beginning.
Ingredients for Mary Berry Soda Bread Recipe
To get started, make sure you have the following ingredients ready:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup white whole-wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (cold)
- 1 tablespoon butter (melted)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
Step-By-Step Instructions for Mary Berry’s Soda Bread
Preheat your oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet with butter or cooking spray and dust it with a little flour.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and sugar until well combined.
Make a well in the center and add the buttermilk, melted butter, and egg. Mix with a wooden spoon until it comes together into a shaggy dough.
Turn out the dough onto a floured surface. Knead it briefly just until smooth, about 1 minute. The dough will be sticky.
Pat the dough into a round about 6 inches across and 1 1⁄2 inches thick. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. With a serrated knife, cut an X shape into the top of the loaf about 1⁄4 inch deep.
Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and brush the top liberally with melted butter. Sprinkle the raisins evenly over the top, pressing them into the surface slightly.
Bake for another 20-25 minutes until deep golden brown. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.
Allow bread to cool at least slightly before slicing and serving warm.
Once baked, remove the soda bread from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack for a few minutes.
Tips for Making Mary Berry’s Soda Bread
- Use all-purpose flour rather than whole wheat or bread flour. The lower protein content allows for a nice tender crumb.
- Make sure your baking soda is fresh for proper leavening. Test it by dropping a tiny bit into vinegar – it should fizz actively.
- Chill the dough for 15 minutes before kneading if the weather is humid. This prevents sticking.
- Knead the dough gently and briefly to develop the gluten just enough but avoid overworking it.
- A serrated knife works best for cutting neat slices through the crunchy crust.
Serving and Storing Mary Berry’s Soda Bread:
This hearty bread makes a satisfying breakfast just as it is, but it also pairs nicely with soups, stews, or pot roasts for lunch or dinner. The possibilities are endless!
For serving, allow the soda bread to cool for at least 10-15 minutes out of the oven before slicing to allow it to set up. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Leftover soda bread can be stored on the counter tightly wrapped for up to 3 days. For longer storage, wrap slices or quarters in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature and refresh in a hot oven.
Any uneaten sliced bread can also be turned into bread crumbs or croutons. Just let them dry out before processing them in a food processor.
What Does Mary Berry Soda Bread Taste Like?
Mary Berry Soda Bread boasts a light, tender crumb with a subtle sweetness from the honey and bursts of flavor from the plump raisins. The combination of all-purpose and white whole-wheat flour gives it a lovely balance, making it perfect for enjoying on its own or paired with your favorite soups and stews.
FAQs about Mary Berry Soda Bread Recipe
Can I make substitutions?
The recipe as written produces authentic flavor and texture. Ingredients like whole wheat flour or brown sugar will alter the loaf.
Can I knead it in a stand mixer?
Yes, just mix until it comes together then knead with the dough hook for 1 minute on medium-low speed.
Can I shape it into rolls instead?
Absolutely! Form into 8 equal pieces and shape into rounds. Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden.
What if I don’t have buttermilk?
You can make a quick substitute – for each cup needed, add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar to a liquid measuring cup and fill the 1 cup line with regular milk. Let sit briefly until curdled.
Can I use self-rising flour instead?
Since self-rising flour already contains leavening agents like baking powder and salt, it’s not recommended for this recipe. Stick to the specified ingredients for the best results.
Can I make Mary Berry Soda Bread in a bread machine?
While you can mix and knead the dough in a machine, shaping it, scoring, and baking it in the oven will yield the most authentic texture.
Mary Berry Soda Bread Recipe
- 3 cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 3/4 cups buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons butter melted, plus more for brushing
- 1 egg beaten
- 1/2 cup raisins
- Preheat your oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet with butter or cooking spray and dust it with a little flour.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and sugar until well combined.
- Make a well in the center and add in the buttermilk, melted butter, and egg. Mix with a wooden spoon until it comes together into a shaggy dough.
- Turn out the dough onto a floured surface. Knead it briefly just until smooth, about 1 minute. The dough will be sticky.
- Pat the dough into a round about 6 inches across and 1 1⁄2 inches thick. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. With a serrated knife, cut an X shape into the top of the loaf about 1⁄4 inch deep.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and brush the top liberally with melted butter. Sprinkle the raisins evenly over the top, pressing them into the surface slightly.
- Bake for another 20-25 minutes until deep golden brown. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.
- Allow bread to cool at least slightly before slicing and serving warm.
Storing and Freezing Homemade Mary Berry’s Soda Bread
- To store, allow the bread to fully cool then wrap tightly at room temperature up to 3 days.
- For freezing, wrap quarters or slices in plastic wrap up to 3 months. Thaw at room temp and crisp in the oven.
- To make soft bread crumbs, let slices dry out overnight before processing in a food processor.
Troubleshooting Common Soda Bread Baking Problems
- Dough too dry and won’t come together – Add more buttermilk 1 tablespoon at a time until it forms a shaggy ball.
- Loaf sinks in the middle – Check that baking soda is still fresh and active. Be sure not to over-knead the dough.
- Burnt bottom – Use a pan insulator or lower oven rack to prevent direct bottom heat.
- Tough, dense texture – Use softer all-purpose flour and avoid over-mixing the dough.
- Loaf cracks on top – Try baking at a lower temp or covering with foil at the end to prevent over-browning.
Master this easy, satisfying bread and enjoy it as a staple in your home, just like Mary Berry does! With a bit of practice, you’ll be able to whip up this tasty loaf that’s so much better than store-bought.
Let us know if you have any other questions – we’re happy to help you get baking Mary Berry’s classic soda bread. Enjoy!