Soda Bread

I love making bread, but even I will admit that it can be quite a lot of effort!  Generally speaking, it involves a lot of kneading and proving, and isn’t something that can be knocked up on the spur of the moment.  Soda bread, however, is a completely different kettle of fish!  Rather than using yeast to make the bread rise, this bread relies on the reaction between the bicarbonate of soda and buttermilk to create a lovely free-form risen bread.  It goes perfectly with soup, so you can whip up a quick soda bread whilst your soup is bubbling away on the stove.IMG_1461This one is a Paul Hollywood recipe- he is the bread guru, afterall! I’ve always found his bread recipes to be really reliable. To make one large round loaf, you will need:

– 250g plain white flour

– 250g wholemeal flour

– 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

– 1 tsp salt

– 400ml buttermilk

Pre- heat the oven to 200 degrees.  Start by weighing out the flours and placing them together in a large bowl with the salt and bicarbonate of soda.  Mix together until they are evenly distributed.IMG_1470Make a well in the centre and pour in the buttermilk slowly.  Bring the mixture together whilst carefully adding the buttermilk. You might not need to use all of the buttermilk, so just judge how wet your mixture is looking.  It needs to be a nice sticky dough!IMG_1480 Tip it out onto a lightly floured surface, and very lightly shape it by hand until it comes together into a ball. IMG_1501 Place the ball of sticky dough onto a baking tray, and score two very deep lines across the whole width of the dough to form a cross, almost but not quite cutting all the way through.IMG_1509Dust with a little brown flour and it’s ready to bake.  Pop it into the over for half an hour. IMG_1524 IMG_1518 All that’s left to do is wait patiently for it to rise…IMG_1564 IMG_1574It should have a lovely domed shape and be golden in colour when done. A good way of testing is to tap the underside of the loaf, and if it sounds hollow, then it is good to go. IMG_1578 IMG_1596 Soda bread is best eaten straight away as it dries out quickly, so have it whilst it’s still warm. IMG_1669 Tear off a chunk and slather on some salty butter. All ready to dip into your soup! IMG_1617There you have it, the perfect autumn meal. No soup is complete without bread, and this soda bread makes the perfect accompaniment.

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