Traditional White Irish Soda Bread
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
14 ounces buttermilk (1 ¾ cups)
Extra flour for dusting
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease and flour an 8 or 9-inch cake pan. In a large bowl, use a sifter or mesh sieve to combine the dry ingredients (flour, soda, salt). Add the buttermilk and lightly stir with a fork or wooden spoon to form a sticky dough.
Turn dough out onto a floured surface and lightly knead (too much allows the gas to escape). Shape dough into a ball, lightly flattening the top just a bit. Generously dust the top with flour and transfer dough to the prepared cake pan.
Use a sharp knife to cut a 4-inch cross in the center of the dough, at least a half-inch deep. Cover the pan with another round cake pan and bake for 30 minutes; remove cover and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes until the top is golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. The bottom of the bread will have a hollow sound when tapped to show that it is done.
Place pan on a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes, then remove bread from pan and slice to serve, or continue cooling on the rack.
To store: Wrap loaf in tin foil or plastic wrap and store at room temperature for several days. Can be frozen for at least two months, either whole or sliced.