The Daring Bakers’ September 2015 Challenge: Soda Bread

Dark Soda Bread |

Blog-checking lines:  For the month of September Meredith from the Poco Loco Olsons challenged us to experiment with soda bread.

Soda bread is a non-yeasted quick bread that relies on baking soda for leavening. It’s actually a bread I make fairly often in the winter as it is easy, quick and reliable whereas yeast bread rising in a cold room sometimes doesn’t work according to schedule.  I always thought soda bread was invented in Ireland, but apparently it was invented by the Native American Indians who used pearl ash to help their breads rise.  However, it is the Irish who have become most known for their soda breads.  Traditionally it is a white or brown loaf, sometimes with raisins and often decorated with a slashed cross on top.

Since soda bread is nothing new to me, I decided to try to make a variation reminiscent of my favorite dark molasses bread served at the local steakhouse.    I have been playing around lately with sprouted flours, so I used up some sprouted whole wheat and sprouted rye in this bread along with some cocoa powder and molasses to duplicate the dark and sweet flavor I was looking for.  I think I was pretty successful and I really enjoyed this variation on an old favorite.

Dark Sprouted Grain Soda Bread
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: Irish/Native American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 loaf
Dark and sweet soda bread flavored with cocoa powder and molasses.
  • 2 Tbsp. melted unsalted butter
  • 1 C (140g) sprouted rye flour
  • ½ C (87g) sprouted whole wheat flour
  • ¾ (105g) cup all purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 T unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp (11g) dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 Cup (240ml) low fat buttermilk
  • 1 Tbsp molasses
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F (190c) and place a rack in the middle of the oven.
  2. Grease or line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat.
  3. Combine the dry ingredients (rye flour through salt) in a large bowl, whisking to combine.
  4. Add the melted butter and stir to combine.
  5. Mix together the molasses and the buttermilk and then add to the bowl. Mix with a fork until the dough starts to come together.
  6. Lightly flour the counter and gently knead the bread three or four times just to bring it together into a cohesive mass. It's ok to have flour lightly coating the surface. The dough will be fairly soft.
  7. Shape the dough into an 8" long oval and place it on the prepared baking sheet.
  8. With a smooth-edged knife, gently score a slash along the length of the loaf, no more than 1 inch deep.
  9. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the bread feels firm and the bottom sounds hollow when you tap on it.
  10. Cool on a wire rack.
Best served the day it is made.


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