1) Preheat the oven to 220C/Gas 8.
2) Sift the dry ingredients. Make a well in the centre and pour all of the milk in at once. Using one hand, mix in the flour from the sides of the bowl, adding more milk if necessary. The dough should be softish, not too wet and sticky. When it all comes together, turn it out onto a well floured board.
3) Wash and dry your hands. Knead the dough lightly for a second, just enough to tidy it up, then flip it over. Pat the dough into a round about 30cm in diameter and cut a cross on it (to let the fairies out). Let the cuts go over the sides of the bread to make sure of this. Bake in a hot oven for 15 minutes, then turn down the oven to 200C/Gas 6 for 30 minutes, or until cooked. If you are in doubt, tap the bottom of the bread: if it is cooked it will sound hollow.
Cook's note: Soda bread only takes 2 or 3 minutes to make and 20 to 30 minutes to bake. It is certainly another of my 'great convertibles'. We have had the greatest fun experimenting with different variations and uses. It's also great with olives, sun-dried tomatoes or caramelised onions added, so the possibilities are endless for the hitherto humble soda bread.
This recipe was provided by professional chefs and has been scaled down from a bulk recipe provided by a restaurant. The Food Network chefs have not tested this recipe, in the proportions indicated, and therefore we cannot make any representation as to the results.