Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Soda bread - quick, easy and delicious

Ellie's Treasures - Soda Bread
Making bread by hand is very satisfying, but not a quick process.  In order to have a fresh, just warm loaf of bread ready to slice for lunch time means waking up early, flexing your muscles several times over with kneading and knocking back, having to turn the boiler on to get just the right temperature to ensure the yeast does its rising trick (but that's probably just in our house, as room temps are quite low here!) and then baking and cooling etc., etc., etc.

When hubs heard someone rave about soda bread on telly he was up for having a go at baking some.  It's ridiculously simple and quick to make and after a small number of trials he's got it down to a fine art.  It's delicious too - that always helps doesn't it!

He's used this recipe from the BBC but when he recently had an urge to bake but we didn't have any buttermilk we moved on to the following recipe which is equally good.  Wanting to experiment further, he ditched the lemon juice and semi-skimmed milk and substituted these two amounts with mixtures of full fat Greek yoghurt, sour cream and milk - in no particular individual measurements, just as long as there's some sourness to it and the total measurement is equal to the original lemon and milk measurement (hope that makes sense).  Have a play and see what you like.

Makes 1 loaf (measurements in brackets for larger loaf/4 medium rolls)

250ml or 8fl oz semi-skimmed milk (367.5 ml)
1 tbsp lemon juice (1.5 tbsp)
170g or 6 oz self-raising wholemeal flour (250g)
170g or 6 oz plain flour (250g)
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (1.5 tsp)

Set the oven to gas 5, 200 deg C, 180 deg C fan.

Squeeze the lemon juice into a jug and pour in the milk, stir to make it curdle.  Sift the two flours and the bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl - tip in any leftover bran pieces left in the sieve.  Add the curdled milk and mix the ingredients together to form a soft dough.  Place the dough onto a floured surface and bring it all together with your hands making a round flattened ball.

Put the dough onto a baking tray lined with baking paper.  Score the top of the dough with a knife and place the tray in the oven for around 30 minutes until it's golden.

Remove and test that it's ready by tapping the bottom of the bread - it should sound hollow.  Cool on a cooling rack.

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