Irish housewives in earlier times eschewed yeast as a leavening agent. Instead, they used soda to encourage bread to rise and that is where we get the name "soda bread." Even a first-time cook will have success baking soda bread; it is that simple to make. Eat it at breakfast or dinner or with a hot cup of tea. Pack it in lunches with goat cheese and fresh sliced tomato for an interesting partnering of flavors.
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Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Coat your clean, bare hands with olive oil, for kneading. Add the buttermilk or soured milk in small increments and knead it into the dough.
Place the dough on the baking sheet. Use a sharp knife to make a shallow cross on the top of the loaf. Place in the oven and bake until lightly golden on top, about 50-60 minutes. When done, loaf will sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove from the oven and serve.