Never had I ever made bread from scratch before Saturday and boy, do I want to make it again. This was part of the three-course meal I made for my Dad and serves as a delicious accompaniment for the tomato soup recipe I recently gave you. This recipe was taken from my cousin’s brilliant food site (monksandhiggsonfood.co.uk) and is all her own. I think.
Soda bread appears in various cuisines and is a type of bread where bicarbonate of soda is used to raise the dough, not yeast. The traditional recipe includes buttermilk, flour, salt and baking soda, but anything else may be added. It was generally known as a quick and cheap way of making bread and was extremely popular in Austria, Poland and Britain during the mid-19th century, as were other bakes containing soda. To describe soda bread to someone who has never tasted it before is hard. It’s salty and slightly sweet at the same time, whilst hard and crispy, yet soft too. It’s one of those things you need to experience for yourself.
- 125g plain flour
- 125g wholemeal plain flour (If you have none, just use another 125g of normal plain)
- 1tsp caster sugar
- 1tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 1/2tsp sea salt
- 150ml buttermilk (or normal milk with a tbsp lemon juice stirred in and left for five minutes, if you can’t find any)
- Preheat the oven to 220°C/Gas mark 7. You can bake this bread in a small round casserole dish as it helps keep its shape but it also works well on a baking sheet. Either way, heat the baking container in the oven, while it is preheating.
Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, ensuring the salt and bicarb are evenly spread through. Only once the oven is preheated, add the buttermilk and stir into the dry ingredients with your fingers until it comes together into a very wet and sticky dough.
- Working as quickly as possible, remove the dish from the oven and dust lightly with flour to prevent sticking. Lift the dough into the dish (or baking sheet) and shape roughly into a round loaf.
- Using a sharp knife, make two diagonal shallow slits across the dough and add a few oats or seeds on top if you like. Place the bread into the oven and bake for about 25 minutes.