Preparation / Directions:
This version, flavored with old-fashioned rolled oats and dark molasses, is similar to the soda bread served at Ballymaloe House in County Cork, Ireland. Bake the bread early in the day and reheat it just before the guests arrive.
Thoroughly combine ww and all-purpose flours, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Stir in oats and make well in center.
Combine buttermilk and molasses in separate bowl. Pour mixture into flour well and gradually work into flour with fingers or spoon.
Knead dough lightly 3 or 4 times on floured surface and divide in half. Shape into 2 round loaves, each about 5-inch in diameter. With sharp knife, score loaves with cross slash, cutting 1 inch deep.
Place loaves on ungreased baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees 15 minutes, then reduce heat and continue to bake 25 to 30 minutes longer or until loaves are brown on top and sound hollow when tapped on bottom. Cool at least 5 minutes on cooling rack. Loaves can be baked several hours ahead and reheated in low oven. Cut into thick or thin wedges. Serve warm or at room tempature.