Basic Irish Soda Bread
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/3-1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1. Heat your oven to 400, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Combine all of the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Add the buttermilk and whisk it quickly with a fork. (Start with 1 1/3 cup of the buttermilk, and add the rest if it looks like you need it.)
The dough should look like this; "raggy" is what Diane calls it. She says, "You are trying to achieve a dough that is raggy and very soft, but the lumps and rags of it should look dryish and "floury", while still being extremely squishy if you poke them."
4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Gather the dough and knead it a few times, just enough to get it into a ball that holds together (a minute a most). Use a very sharp knife to make criss-crossing cuts in the top; the cuts should go about half-way through. The cuts let the bread "flower" as it cooks.
I absolutely recommend you go and read all of Diane's post about her soda bread (and watch the videos). She has a ton of really great information that will help you get the bread just right.