Published March 1, 1997.
When developing our Irish soda bread recipe, our first tests focused on flour. A loaf made with all-purpose flour produced a doughy, heavy bread with a thick crust. To soften the crumb, we added some cake flour to the mix, and this made a difference. With only the four basic ingredients of flour, buttermilk, baking soda, and salt, our soda bread recipe was lacking in flavor and still a little tough; we turned to sugar and butter. The sugar added flavor without making the bread sweet and the butter softened the dough just enough with out making it overly rich.