Original article published at TasteAtlas.

Although soda bread has been known for centuries and was first invented by Native Americans, it was not until the 19th century that this type of bread became commonplace in Ireland. As a result of the potato famine, as well as Ireland’s weather and geographical conditions, which allowed only the production of soft wheat that had low protein content, the Irish turned to soda bread as their main source of nutrition.

There are only a few of ingredients needed to make the bread; flour, salt, baking soda, and buttermilk, but some recipes may also include olive oil and eggs.

This bread requires almost no kneading, and the dough is shaped either as a round cake, or it is flattened and cut into four pieces, known as farls. Depending on the type of flour used (whole wheat or plain), soda bread can be classified as brown or white, and is commonly consumed as an accompaniment to the main meal. If it is consumed for breakfast, the slices are traditionally spread with either butter or honey, or topped with cheese and cold cuts.