I just made soda bread yesterday. I used kefir instead of buttermilk, and it came out great. It's 100% whole grain, but doesn't taste it, because I used white whole wheat flour, along with oat flour. Here's a link to the picture if you want to see how it turned out: http://www.whatwouldcathyeat.com/2011...
Let me know if you make this!
Whole Grain Irish Soda Bread
3 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 cup oat flour (or finely ground oatmeal
)1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds
¾ cup raisins
2 cups lowfat buttermilk or kefir
2 tablespoons honey
Preheat the oven to 375.
Mix the flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Stir in the raisins and caraway seeds. In a separate bowl, whisk the buttermilk or kefir and the honey. Stir into the dry mixture, mixing only until the dough just comes together. Transfer to a floured surface and form into a round loaf. Don’t overmix, or the bread will be tough.
Place on a lightly greased cast iron skillet or baking sheet. Score a deep X in the top of the dough. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the loaf sounds hollow when you tap the bottom. Cool before slicing.
This is so easy and so good. You can certainly add in whatever you choose, no need for cake flour and as you stated, there is a range given for the buttermilk. I think that's just the nature of the bread and you need to use a bit of judgement. You want a wet dough but one that can be handled to a certain degree, but not too much. Just enough to get it into shape and into pan. I usually make mine in a 9x5 loaf pan instead of the traditional free form round.