Baking, The Basics

Soda bread 

This is very quick to make as it does need to rise or be kneaded. It makes a delicious loaf that’s best eaten fresh and reminds me of my Irish friends. On visits to Ireland I would happily eat soda bread and yummy Irish butter. This recipe is based on Rachel Allen’s in her book ‘Bake’ and makes a classic soda bread. A friend recently brought some delicious soda bread to a party, He added olives and sun-dried tomatoes whicH was delicious too.

Pre-heat your oven to 220 degrees C / 450 F. Then sift 450g flour into a bowl (I used 2/3 strong white bread flour and 1/3 whole meal). To this add a tsp of salt, a tsp of baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) and 1/2 tsp of sugar and mix it together. To ensure the bread rises you need sour milk, you can either use butter milk or you can add a couple of tsp of lemon juice to some warm milk or use whey (if you have some from making  curd cheese, or Greek yoghurt). You will need about 400ml. Pour about 350ml into the flour mixture and either with a big spoon or using your fingers stir it together, don’t work it too much just mix it so it comes together into a thick dough. Add some more liquid if required. It should form a ball. Then on your work surface form it into a round and cut a cross in the top with a sharp knife and ‘paint’ the top with some of the milk and then put it in the oven. I cook mine on a pre-heated pizza stone. Once it’s in the oven turn the oven down to 200degrees C / 400 F. Cook for about 30 mins until golden brown on top. The base should also be cooked and make a hollow sound when tapped if not turn the loaf over and pop it back in to oven for a few minutes. When it’s done allow to cook on a wire rack. It’s delicious when still fresh and warm with butter.


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