Chemical raising agents began to replace yeast in cakes, pancakes and some breads during the 19th century and soda breads became particularly popular in Ireland. This recipe comes from Ellen Duffin, who lived in Belfast during the mid-1800s. Her handwritten recipe book has survived and is now stored in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland. This is a recipe where less is more. There are only four ingredients, which are quickly mixed and baked. It is a very easy bread to make and one that is full of flavour. To aerate the bread, the soda must have something acidic to react with, and in this recipe buttermilk does that, to create a wholemeal loaf that is as light as many yeast risen ones. Makes approximately 30 x 500g loaves Ingredients Wholemeal flour: 9kg/20lb Butter: 1.1kg/2½lb Baking soda: 150g/5oz Buttermilk (or a 50/50 mixture of plain yoghurt and milk): 6 litres/10¾ pints Method 1. Combine the flour and the baking soda 2. Rub in the butter 3. Pour in the buttermilk (or plain yoghurt and milk) to form a soft dough. 4. Shape the loaves and put onto greased pans. Soda bread is traditionally made into rounds. 5. Bake at 205?C for 45-55 minutes. Did you know? ? Traditionally buttermilk is the liquid that is left over from making butter but nowadays most buttermilk on the market is a much thicker cultured product. ? The texture of soda breads is always more cake-like than yeast-risen bread, regardless of whether they are made from high- or low-gluten flours.