I make this every year for St. Patrick's Day. It's my husbands favorite. I'll also sneak it in a few other times throughout the year.
Makes 1 loaf
vegetable oil, for brushing
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Brush a sheet with oil. I'll admit I don't always brush the sheet and sometimes just use parchment paper.
Sift the flour, salt, and baking soda into a bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in most of the buttermilk. Mix well, first with a wooden spoon and then with your hands. The dough should be very soft but not too wet. If necessary, add the remaining buttermilk.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured counter and knead lightly and briefly. Shape into an 8-inch round. Put the loaf onto the prepared baking sheet and cut a cross in the top with a sharp knife.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool slightly.
Serve warm, we like it with Irish butter.
*I originally found this recipe in an Irish Pub Cooking cookbook. It holds many great recipes.