Savoury

Irish Soda Bread

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My first post!

Perhaps inspired by St Patricks Day earlier this week, I decided to make some soda bread. Although I have made a loaf of bread before, for some reason I’ve never tried to make my own soda bread. Needless to say, today won’t be the last time!

The recipe I used was by James Martin which I found on theΒ BBC Food website. When I first read the method I thought bread making couldn’t be so simple, but I was wrong!

After a swift Saturday morning visit to the supermarket – it has to be early, I hate when it gets busy and I have a habit of choosing the wrong checkout queue (we’ve all been there!), I was stocked up with the items I needed. Nothing complicated that you have to search high and low for, just 5 simple ingredients:

  • 170g/6oz self-raising wholemeal flour
  • 170g/6oz plain flour
  • Β½ tsp salt
  • Β½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 290ml/Β½ pint buttermilk

After setting the oven to 200c, I grabbed the equipment I needed – weighing scales, a large bowl, measuring spoon, fork and a baking stone. The recipe said a baking tray but I thought I would give the stone a try. On recommendation from my husband, I didn’t preheat the stone, just in case the bottom cooked really quickly and the rest of the bread didn’t.

Firstly I put all the dry ingredients in the bowl and mixed them together. Next I made a well in the middle and added the buttermilk – the container I bought was slightly less than I needed (schoolgirl error!) so I took a chance and topped up with regular semi-skimmed milk. Although this was my first attempt at the bread, I think it’s safe to say it definitely didn’t have a negative effect on the finished article!

When the buttermilk (and additional semi-skimmed milk) was added, I mixed it together well, firstly with the fork and then my hands until it was all incorporated. This took less than a minute to do.

Next I lightly floured the working surface with some plain flour and turned out the dough, ready to knead it. It was quite sticky but I thought I could always add extra flour if necessary. The recipe stated that the dough needed to be kneaded briefly so thats exactly what I did – about 30 seconds. (If you aren’t sure how to knead, there are plenty of videos on YouTube to help) I then shaped the dough into a ball, lightly floured the baking stone, and put on the dough before I flattened it slightly and cut a cross on the top.

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So far, so easy!

Once the oven was at the right temperature, in went the soon to be soda bread, for 30 minutes. When I am making anything I can’t help but keep checking on it while its baking so I was backwards and forwards to the oven – good job they have glass doors!

When the timer went off I took it out of the oven, turned it over and tapped the bottom to check for the ‘hollow’ sound – success!

I left it to cool, despite both myself and my husband wanting to try it warm and spread it generously with butter! Once it had cooled though, I sliced it and we enjoyed it for lunch with poached eggs. It had a lovely texture, soft in the middle and not too dense, with a lovely crust – I had to stop myself having an extra slice!

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Definitely one to recommend if you want a quick and easy bread. I’m fairly sure it won’t hang around for long in this house!

Bon appetit!

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