Just before I post my April blog, I promised to give you a quick recipe or two for making bread. Not only is it the kind of staple that is good to be able to produce quickly out of larder ingredients while shopping is so very difficult, but it’s also fun to make with the children.
I’m beginning with this very simple recipe for white soda bread. This is pretty much the simplest and fastest bread you can make – no yeast involved and only minimal kneading for a minute or two. Traditionally, proper Irish soda bread is made with wholemeal flour and buttermilk, but this white version is also delicious and is made from plain white flour – no point at all in using strong bread flour: in fact it works better without it. And, as I’ve made clear in the recipe, if you don’t have any buttermilk, just add some vinegar to ordinary milk – it works just as well.
Soda bread is definitely at its best when eaten the day it’s made, although it’s very tasty toasted the next day (or fried with egg and bacon for breakfast). I’ve made one large loaf, but you could make two smaller ones and freeze one (keeps well for 3-6 months if wrapped in an airtight bag) or you could make it into individual rolls. Just adjust the baking time to suit.
I’ll post a second easy bread recipe in the next day or two, so do keep checking back.
Love Jane x
Quick White Soda Bread
- 525g plain white flour
- 1½ tsps salt (7.5ml)
- 1½ tsps. (7.5ml) bicarbonate of soda
- 400ml buttermilk OR 375ml milk and 2 tbsps vinegar (white wine, cider etc - anything light-coloured)
Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas mark 4. Put a baking tray in to get hot while you make the bread If you don’t have any buttermilk, add the vinegar to the milk and let it stand for a few minutes.
Meanwhile, add the salt and bicarbonate of soda to the flour in a large bowl then make a well in the centre and pour in the buttermilk (or milk/vinegar mix).
Stir with a wooden spoon until the mix comes together roughly (see left image), then tip it out onto a floured work surface and knead it lightly and briefly until you can make it into a ball (see right image).
Place it on the hot baking tray and, with a sharp knife, cut a deep cross in the centre, going nearly to the bottom. (If necessary check the cross after half an hour or so cooking and make it again if it is closing up).
Dust the top of the loaf with a little flour and bake in the preheated oven for 55-65 minutes, or until crusty brown and hollow-sounding when you tap it on the bottom. Cool for a minute or two on a rack, then serve while still warm: delicious with butter, honey or cheese.