This is very easy-but not mindless. Pay attention. The trick is at the last. The wrap makes the crust soft and chewy. The steaming seems to concentrate the flavors.
I have baked this, wrapped it up and had it still be warm at a party 4 hours later.
No yeast. No waiting to rise-Just mix and bake.
There are certainly other ways to make soda bread, but this has worked for me for more than 30 years.
And I have never seen anybody do the steam wrap.
4 Cups whole spelt flour
2 Cups of buttermilk
1 Heaping teaspoon of baking soda
1 Heaping teaspoon of baking powder
¼ Cup or so of sugar
¼ Cup or so of caraway seeds
Handful or so of (dried cranberries/currants/blueberries-pick one, all or not)
Seems to me, the spelt gives it a more cohesive, even structure than wheat.
Mix dry ingredients
Mix in fruit (or not)
Mix in buttermilk ( I use big heavy plastic spoon)
Once it is mixed as well as you can with spoon mix with your hand. Add flour to reduce stickiness but not too much. This is kind of a mixing/ kneading step.
You want the dough to almost flow. Form it into a ball and put on baking sheet. The ball should kind of spread on its own if it is the right consistency. Cut an X in the top to prevent cracking.
Put a cornstarch wash for shine and some sugar sprinkles on top if you want it to look like the picture-I don’t usually bother with it.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
Hard crumbly crust-take out of oven let cool.
Soft chewy crust-Wrap immediately in foil and then a bath towel (careful it is really hot)
This steams the crust and makes it soft. Leave at least an hour.
Eat it with lots of butter and honey and stuff.
Stands up to a dark, red wine and a good Stout-Guinness if you want to go all traditional but there are some other really good stouts.
If you are so inclined
It is awesome-Trust me.
(Note for all that know I have to eat gluten free. Spelt is not, I repeat not gluten free. It is a species of wheat. So don’t infer since I wrote this it is a gluten free food. IT IS NOT! I cannot actually eat this anymore. Working on a gluten free version though.)