Saturday, March 16, 2013

Quintessential Survival Bread

At its core, survival depends upon efficient, simple and effective methods for dealing with the necessities of daily life.  Food is no exception.  Although you can store yeast (for finite periods of time), make yeast from a starter and even cultivate new yeast, there are times when making yeast bread is too time consuming or altogether impractical.  Enter the quintessential survival bread - Irish Soda Bread.  This bread requires nothing but the most basic of pantry essentials - flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, sugar and buttermilk (easily made with powdered milk and a splash of lemon juice or vinegar), making it tremendously practical as well as delicious.  One of its strongest attributes is that it requires absolutely no fat in the form of butter, shortening, lard or oil!  How's that for survivability?

Soda bread is really nothing but a glorified biscuit in bread form, however, being in bread form renders it infinitely flexible.  It is extraordinarily quick, requiring almost no kneading, rolling or even cutting into shapes.  It bakes in cast iron, so no special cookware is required and it lends itself to wood cook stove cooking admirably.  Because Soda bread requires no yeast, it is the perfect starting point for the inexperienced cook and the experienced baker will appreciate its no-fuss approach to bread-making.  It is also the perfect answer to hearty bread in minutes rather than hours.  Soda bread is equally comfortable sopping up gravy drippings as it is being smothered in jam or honey.  Basically, soda bread is one versatile bread.

This bread is really good warm, however, once cold, you can slice it thinly and make sandwiches with ease.  Grilled Cheese on Soda bread is the perfect rainy Sunday afternoon repast, especially if you add a hot cup of tea!

In survival situations, sometimes the right answer is the quick answer.  And that is where Irish Soda Bread comes into its own....

Irish Soda Bread
4 C flour (white, wheat or a combination)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 T sugar
2 C buttermilk (preferably room temperature)

Preheat oven to 375°

Sift (or not) the flour, soda, baking powder and salt into a large bowl.  Add sugar.  Stir with a fork.  Add buttermilk (I use regular milk with a bit (splash) of lemon juice or vinegar added or even powdered milk mixed with warm water and a little vinegar or lemon juice) and stir until it forms a ball.  Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 2 minutes (do not knead for more than 2 minutes - it will make the bread tough).

Form dough into a ball and place in a well-buttered 8" cast iron skillet (if you don't have cast iron, you can use a cake or pie pan).  Press down slightly and cut a cross in the top of the loaf.

Bake at 375° (or a medium/hot wood cook stove oven) for 35-40 minutes. (This bread does not require time to rise).

Just kneaded

In a well-buttered 8" skillet

Cross cut on top

Just out of the oven

Slice any way you like


And this, my friends, is the Quintessential Survival Bread.


  1. Will have to give this a try-looks yummy!

  2. For some reason this will not print just the recipe without the pictures.

    1. I'm sorry - I don't think blogger will just print the recipe.


    2. I just copy the recipe (highlight, right click, copy) and then paste it to a Word Document although I usually save it as a PDF which is in the save as options. Sometimes I do use the picture of the finished product because they always look so yummy.

    3. copy and send it to your e-mail and you can delete the pictures!

  3. Copy and paste recipe into an email to yourself. It worked just fine.

  4. Enola,


    Spring Break at walmart today. Lots of women in Bikini's in Walmart coming from or going to the beach. I'm so over it, I could go the rest of my life without seeing a woman in a bikini of somesort. Walmart was picked clean of sunscreen and other beach related stuff.

    I picked up a "Magpul bad lever" for my Stag rifle. I strongly reccomend the Magpul bad lever, its the only real gizmo gadget for the AR that really helps out in my opinion. The Bad Lever makes ejecting mags a lot quicker and easier.

    I may pick up some of the quckclot next week and I wanted to know if anyone has an opinion on this stuff. I have no medical training (nor do I want to be a doctor) For bullet holes now, I carry several corks and a role of duct tape. I figure I can plut up a hole that way. Duct tape can fix anything.

    1. Instead of having corks to plug bullet holes, you might think about tampons. They are much more sterile than corks. You might also think about carrying a small container of honey to kill any germs that might be in the wound.

    2. OwenNoOne

      I just can't seam to get over the idea of going into a store and buying a box of tampons. And no I don't know any women nor do I have a woman available for the task. I hate dealing with blood and guts anyway so I will stick with the duct tape.

      Besides can you see a Texas Redneck with sneakers, camo board shorts with a Springfield Armory T-shirt walking into a pharmacy and asking some girl behind the counter, "Miss, do you have any any Tampons in a .30 Caliber or .223 size????

      (I think I will pass on this one)

    3. LOL....can't quite picture that. LOL

      (You can order them through

    4. OB assortment box is perfect... 3 sizes that fit anything larger than a .32 I keep a few of each in my bag.

  5. Enola,


    sorry to chime in again, but someone on "Walking Dead" has a new crossbow. It looks like a Stryker strykezone 380. One of our favorite good guy Biker Rednecks has a new anti-zombie tool. Sorry for the spoiler, I like being a bad guy every now and then:)

    On the serious side on survival stuff, etc. I think a good crossbow setup may be more important than having reloading eqiupment. I can run out of primers, power, and run low on decent brass, but I cant think of crossbow stuff that I would run out of unless I abused my equipment.

    Anyone have any thoughts on this, any crossbow or bow hunters got any opinion on this????

    I can also practice in my backyard with a crossbow and not freak the neighbors out. Lots of Possums down here, in fact too many. I guess I could learn how to cook "Sweat Potato Possom Pie" an old southern favorite. (I think an arrow would anger a Jackolope)

  6. Excellent recipe! My wife just pulled the bread out of the oven...very good.


  7. Replies
    1. Yes, you can you all whole wheat or a combination white/whole wheat. When using all whole wheat, your bread will be denser and will not raise quite as much. The flavor, however, will be nutty and hearty.


    2. When using whole wheat, can you add more liquid to make the bread not as dense?

    3. I use whole wheat to bake all of my own bread, pancakes, waffles, muffins, etc. I've noticed that even with a high-end grain mill, the wheat flour just doesn't absorb the liquid as fast as regular AP flour. When you initially mix together a recipe using wheat flour, it will appear very loose. Don't add any more liquid until about 10 minutes or just takes that long to absorb it. I mix my pancake and waffle batter together before preheating the pan just to give it that absorption time. I haven't done this recipe yet but it's on my list.

    4. I made this yesterday with whole wheat and it was wonderful!
      I did however, add another 1 teaspoon baking powder to add some lift.
      I have wanted to make this for a long time. Thanks for posting the recipe!

  8. I need gluten free recipe.

  9. Enola,

    I ordered a E.O. Tech 552 from for $542.00 with shipping and no tax (the first one is still backordered into oblivion with Bronells) had them in stock. Cabela's had them for the same price but with state sales tax added (in Texas we have no state income tax, but our state sales tax is nine cents on the dollar and murder) so thats at least another $40 bucks or so right there.

    I will see if bravocompanyusa comes through.

    I avoid using now if possible. Jeff Bazo's starter of donated seven million dollars last year to support homosexual marriage and that dont sit right with me knowing that some of my money is going to the moral collapse of America.

    Back to guns....

    Anyone know where I can score some good quality mil-spec AR bolts??? like made by DPMS, Spikes or Stag arms. I need spare parts, like extra gas rings etc.

    I got some, but a few extra's would give me that warm fuzzy feeling that a teddy bear used to give me when I was four years old (and no' I dont sleep next to an AR at night, not yet anyway:)

    I am fortunate to have a lot of extra money coming in right now so I'm tweaking out everything from food storage, to supplies (no tampons' for bullet wounds please) to (legal) weapon upgrades. Im not big on mall ninja stuff so Im focusing on optics and practical stuff.

    Next up is socks. My platoon of socks as I call them all have holes in them. Its a redneck bachelor thing. I just wear my clothes to they fall apart and no wife is there to assist in saying Gee' honey. Your socks are in horrible shape so I bought you some new socks today. I remembered to to order 20 Magpul, 30 round mags back in late November at $11.50 each, but I can't think ahead to buy clothes.

    Its a guy thing.....

    1. >>Next up is socks. My platoon of socks as I call them all have holes in them. Its a redneck bachelor thing. I just wear my clothes to they fall apart and no wife is there to assist in saying Gee' honey. Your socks are in horrible shape so I bought you some new socks today.

      I had to laugh! It's a redneck single woman thing, too! I got divorced a couple of years ago, & I don't think I've bought a thing since! Gettin' about desperate! If ONLY I had extra money coming in! lol Thanks for the chuckle!

  10. Have never been to this site before. I thought it would be a unique recipe, but it was just irish soda bread - recipe available everywhere.\

    What amazed me was the focus on weapons. Hate to tell you folks, but surviving does not depend on what lethal weapon you have. Survival depends on living skills, growing things, having old time resources and solutions in your brain.

    This is why I avoid this type of site. Maybe some good information I don't already have, but a misdirected focus.

    1. Hey Sharon,


      if things fall apart, law enforcement and our bloated legal system will come to a grinding halt so its a good idea to provide for your own self defense. The pioneers in this country 150 years ago were well armed with the latest weapons of the day including exotic large caliber rifles with 33 inch barrals in some cases.

      If you check out the Sharp's rifle in .45/70 caliber with a 33 inch barral, thats a pretty impressive single shot rifle that can take down moose for food or take down a man for stealing your horse (which in the old west, losing your horse could spell your own demise)
      "Old time resources" as you say involves a lot around guns saving people's lives in the old west.

      God Created Man, Samuel Colt made men equal....

    2. Enola - we had the bread with Corned beef on Sunday - 1 C WW 3 white (I ran out of WW). It was fabulous and will be eaten again in our house.

      Sharon - I have worked in offices and in the energy (electrical production) industry - women in one instance and men in the other. I much perfer working with men. (I am female.) Your brains and your hard work do you no good when someone takes your stuff. You cannot assume people will just leave you alone - some will not. My B&SIL were burglerized to the tune of $25K in the last 3 years - they live in town. Everyone over the age of 18 in my household has a CCP. Our house has sustained damage in the last 5 months from someone trying to break in (they should have succeeded, but a big dog inside discouraged them). We were not home. We live in a relatively unpopulated state with one of the lowest crime rates in the country and have only recently started to lock things up. In addition we have rattlesnakes, wolves, skunks and mountain lions - you go ahead honey - and chase any of them away with your broom.....

      Enola and Sir Knight - you keep right on doing what you are doing and raising your kids right. Do not pay attention to foolish people who will learn only too late that they have messed up. God Bless all of you and keep up the great job......natokadn

  11. Sharon,
    If you did not find the article helpful, then why comment on it? Just move along. Maybe you can find something helpful to you, maybe not. No need to criticize Enola and her recipe or the responses by the people making comments.
    While living skills and growing things and having "old time resources" are all things you will also find on this site. You will also find information about God and about weapons. By the way, your survival could very well depend upon what lethal weapon you have whether you are being attacked by two-legged of four legged animals or zombies.

  12. Enola,

    I got a call today on my answering machine from bravocompanyusa about my E.O. Tech 552 about some shipping address problem. They got my optic ready, I just gotta get my shipping address striaghten out. So far their service has been prompt and professional.

    I drove my first "Peterbuilt" long nose big diesel truck today. That was fun!!!!! I want one. Now I know why them truckers like Peterbuilts.

    This is important......

    Remember "The Empire Strikes Back" the scene where the imperial walkers are attacking the base on the ice planet Hoth.

    The Imperiel Walkers bear a striking resembalence to the MRAD homeland insecurity vehicle. just paint it white and give it legs!!!

    I was going through some "public data" online on the MRAD and its built on a dump truck chasis (how ironic) and the armored crew capsule sits up high above the chasis or frame. I was thinking that (going back to "Empire Strikes Back) that how dangerous that vehicle could be becouse its very top heavy. If some "little old lady from Pasadena" in a one ton big pickup truck were to back into one of the rear wheels of the MRAD at speed kinda at a angle like "Demolition Derby" the MRAD would be knocked over on its side just like an Imperial Walker....

    Interesting ain't it.....

    It would be just like "Luke Skywalker" and his snowspeeder using them steel cables to cripple the Imperial Walkers, causing them to fall over.

    Same principle, but the old lady with the "One Ton Pickup Truck" would have to come in at an 11 o'clock angle or one o'clock angle on the other side of the MRAD (AT THE REAR OF THE MRAD) to knock it over on its side.

    You would think the engineers would figure this criticle flaw out and install air bags all over the inside of the vehicle. Too bad the Imperials did not have air bags in 'Empire Strikes Back"

    The bigger they are, the harder they fall (simple physics)

  13. Enola,


    Over at thewoodpilereport blog (Old' Remus and the Woodpile Report) is a really good write up about the upcoming collapse. I gotta copy this one. Its a keeper and I rarely fill up my hard drive with stuff.

    I said once and I will say it again. Unless there is fundementle change to a vastly more conservative (and smaller) federal goverment, our next step is collapse, chaos, and the disolution of the United States. I dont promote the idea, but its the path Marxist and Fascist have us follow.

  14. I'm imagining this with some fresh herbs mixed in... Rosemary, thyme..... Of course I look for any opportunity to use herbs :)

  15. For the person who asked about gluten free.....I'm going to try this recipe using the same measurement of gluten free flour and one teaspoon of guar gum. That is a pretty good fail safe for me for converting recipes to gluten free. Good luck.

  16. I just had this for the first time over the weekend. I'm going to try and convince the wife it should be a staple in the house! Thanks for the recipe!

  17. Your statement......
    "One of its strongest attributes is that it requires absolutely no fat in the form of butter, shortening, lard or oil!"

    Your instructions........
    "Form dough into a ball and place in a well-buttered 8" cast iron skillet"

    I'm confused - which one is it???? can't have it both ways - either use butter or don't use butter............

    My name is Mrs. Bea - I have to use tne Anonymous profile because the other selections aren't working.

  18. Mrs Bea;

    The dough itself require no fat, the butter was merely for greasing the pan. If your cast iron is well seasoned, your loaf should come out without a worry. You could grease your pan with just about anything or just bake your bread on a dry sheet.


  19. I read the title of the post as, "Quintessential Survival Beard" and was intrigued. I have to admit that I was a tiny bit disappointed that I was wrong. :) Can't wait to try this recipe!

  20. My mother in law is originally from Dublin, Ireland. At home, they would make soda bread on a daily basis, but usually it is a brown bread - more whole wheat than white, also containing wheat bran and wheat germ. Yours seems like a lovely version and I will have to try it sometime. My MIL always bakes hers on a stoneware (not made in china - always English) plate. She found hers at a thrift store - wedgewood, I believe. When using the plate, she does not use any fat, just a little flour on the plate to keep it from sticking. Parchment paper would also work. To achieve a little extra lift in the dough, aerate the dough by sifting or whisking the flour. Handle dough as little as possible.

    For a fancier version - you can also add raisins. Some versions also contain an egg for extra protein. Soda bread is very versatile.

  21. Ha! Twenty five years ago, when I got married I picked out a Wedgewood pattern for my "everyday" dishes. (All that I have). Out side of a few that have been broken over the years - very serviceable - with a nice wheat pattern in them.

    As far as my comments above regarding women - that catty - "my nails are longer and my hair is piled higher and my blouse is cut lower than yours" is the group to which I refer... I thoroughly enjoy the "ladies" that will handle a scoop shovel and change a tire without having a fit. Cleaning your firearms is hard on long nails anyway......"Here" is to all of those capable, hard working (and not afraid to) ladies! Do you suppose Sharon would freak over the awesome crossbow? My daughter has had a compound and been hunting since she was 10. Her archery skills shamed all of the guys in her High School PE class!

    Made this bread again tonight - with homemade vegetable/beet soup. Four of us ate 3/4 of a loaf with butter and 50/50 white whole wheat. Good..stuff!


  22. I tried your recipe. The pan I uses was too big and I added blueberries but it turned out just fine.
    Thanks for posting this.

  23. I went to make soda bread on St. Patrick's day for dinner and found no buttermilk in the home. I substittuted plain yogurt 1 for 1. Ended up with a verynice round. Just thought I'd throw that in. Bill

  24. We grind our wheat fresh (wheat berries last a loooonnngggg time). Any suggestions on using fresh milled flour? I have found that many standard (yeasted) recipes do not work as well with this flour due to the bran and germ being intact. Apparently it actually cuts tge gluten strands? I wonder if that would be the case with this? Maybe not because there is no yeast? It looks beautiful and I'd love to be able to make this!
    Thanks for any direction.

    1. Shanon;

      Actually, we use freshly ground flour regularly as well. I have not had any problems with fresh flour in yeast breads as long I use the correct wheat berries. Yeast breads require the protein content of hard wheat. Soft wheat is good for any quick breads (which Soda bread is classified). You should have no problems with your yeast breads as long as you are using Hard Red wheat or Hard White (both have a high protein content). You can use hard wheats in quick breads and cakes as well, although you don't need to. Soft White, Duram other soft wheats are perfect for biscuits, pancakes, pasta (basically anything that is leavened with baking powder or soda), pastry etc.. The soft wheats have a lighter wheat flavor than the hard wheat does.

      Give the soda bread a try - I think you will really love it!


  25. I can not wait to try this recipe. I have been trying to learn how to make homemade whole wheat bread, but so far I can not get it to rise, and it always just falls apart. Maybe this might be my answer.

  26. Sorry for posting again but I have a few questions.... 1. Would freshly ground from a Wonder Mill Junior Hard White Wheat berries/flour work with this? If so, do I need to make alternations to the recipe due to using Whole wheat flour? Could this recipe be baked in normal bread pans, certain family members only like square shape bread, LOL?

  27. Please excuse my lack of understanding of American units but what is "2 T sugar
    Is it Table-spoon?

  28. Yes, T stands for tablespoon. tsp. means teaspoon. It can be challenging to try to figure out units of measurement! I hope you give the bread a try and love it!



  30. I found this recipe today. Baked it this evening. It was terrific. So easy. Husband and I enjoyed with venison stew. Yummy. Merry Christmas.