From the Essential Pépin tv series, Episode 117: Rollin' In Dough
When you’re pressed for time, soda bread is the prefect solution, since this Irish classic requires only a few minutes of work. In fact, if you turn on your oven before starting to combine the ingredients, the bread will be ready to bake by the time the oven reaches the right temperature. No rising is necessary — the dough must be baked immediately in order for the baking powder to work effectively.
Soda bread is conventionally made with buttermilk, but for convenience I achieve the same result with milk, using baking powder instead of the usual baking soda to compensate for the lack of acidity in the milk. If you want to make the classic version, substitute the same amounts of buttermilk and baking soda.
Covering the dough with an inverted stainless steel bowl during the first 30 minutes of baking creates a moist environment in which this heavy bread can rise. Then, after the bowl is removed, the crust of the bread hardens and browns. —Jacques Pépin
Makes 1 round loaf