Notice how, that with soda bread, kneading the dough takes almost no time at all? The fact is, you don’t want to develop too much gluten, which would make the end result tough rather than tender. That’s because each loaf of Irish soda bread is nothing more than a giant buttermilk biscuit!
1 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus additional for sprinkling
1 cup whole-wheat flour
½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
¼ cup toasted wheat germ
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
1 1/3 cups buttermilk or plain yogurt
Preheat oven to 425°, and lightly sprinkle baking sheet with flour. In a large bowl, whisk together flours, oats, wheat germ, baking soda, and salt. Add butter and toss to coat the pieces with flour. With fingertips, rub flour mixture and butter together until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk or yogurt and stir until dough is moistened evenly.
On a floured surface, knead the dough 1 min., sprinkling lightly with additional flour to prevent sticking (dough should remain soft). Shape dough into a bowl. On the prepared baking sheet, shape dough into a 7 inch round. Sprinkle though with additional flour, spreading it lightly over the round. With a sharp knife, cut a shallow X in the top of the round. Bake in middle of oven 30 min. Cool on rack, 2 hours before slicing.