Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda in a mixing bowl and stir. Form a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add 1½ cups of the buttermilk. Combine the ingredients using the end of a wooden spoon or your hands. If the mixture is too dry, add the remaining ¼ cup of the buttermilk. If it’s not, omit it completely.
When the dough starts to come together, turn it out onto the counter and knead it for about 10 seconds or until it’s soft. Shape it into a ball, about 1½” thick and place it one the prepared baking sheet. Slice a cross into the top of the bread and bake for 30–40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the centre is cooked through.
To make sweet bread, add ⅔ cup chocolate chips or raisings to the dough.
To make it savoury, add 1 cup grated cheddar cheese and 1 Tbsp dried herbs to the dough.
To make individual breads, cut the dough into 6 triangular pieces (like a pie) once it’s been shaped into a ball. Reduce the baking time to 20 minutes.