Wednesday 17 October 2012

Best Soda Bread Recipe - Ever {17/31}

This post is brought to you through the power of Blogtoberfest 2012

Seriously - I make a fair bit of soda bread and I've finally mastered the balance between moisture and crumb.  The secret's in the oats - they soak up any excess moisture so you don't have to overbake.

This works for me in an oven which pretty much only has three settings: meringue - stew - scorch.  For what it's worth, I preset the oven to 180 … And bake for about 35-40 minutes. The cooling part is really important … it's how the crumb takes shape.

You will need:
200g      Wholemeal flour   (the top picture is this version)
50g         Plain white flour
[You could just use 250g plain white flour, if you prefer – see big pic at end]
150g        Oats (porridge/rolled etc.)
1 tsp        Bicarbonate of Soda (flat)
2 tsps       Baking Powder (flat)
(optional)  handful mixed seeds (hemp, sunflower, sesame, poppy, whatever you like) or nuts – walnuts are great in this, make the pieces small and nibbed, not almighty clunkers …
1 tsp         salt
2 tsps        brown sugar – don’t leave this out!  Honey or agave at a pinch … or try treacle!
350 mls buttermilk – or if you can’t get it, in order of preference: plain yoghurt (bio is good) milk or water

Sieve all dry ingredients - Do not overdo it with the baking powder/bicarb - too much and your bread won't rise and will just taste strongly of bicarb. 

Mix in liquid with a fork, quickly and lightly till you have a sticky but definitely dough like ball.  DO NOT OVERMIX.

Turn out on to a floured board.  Knead very briefly (max 30 secs) and shape into a round flat ball.
Cut a deep cross in the top and sprinkle with flour.

Turn onto a floured baking tray and bake for 40ish mins.  It should be a good nutty brown on top and sound hollow when you tap the bottom.

this one was with white flour, seeds and nuts and it was totally scrummalicious

Leave to cool on wire rack for at least 30 mins before attempting to cut.  It allows the oats to swell up and take on any of the excess moisture.

Soda bread really does only take 5 mins to prepare.  (and about as long to wolf down!)  If you've run out of bread it's so simple to just get in there and make some. 

Are you a good baker? I can be, but I’m not consistent -  I tend to be too imprecise about the chemistry of it all.

That’s why I like soda bread! It’s a pretty forgiving recipe, you can chuck in nuts and seeds, or play around with the flours – I’ve substituted 50g of the wholemeal with buckwheat flour and that works well. You can even add fruit and cinnamon – you’ll have to tweak the flour down – but once you’ve got your basic soda bread right, you can experiment all you like and this recipe gives you somewhere to start from! 

Even if it comes out like a brick (which it can do if you overwork it or don’t use enough bicarb/baking powder) it will still be delicious!

Nothing tastes better with soup.  Or homemade jam.

(Prob too late to go and make some now, so it bakes while I watch the final of The Great British Bake Off on iPlayer … but tempting, very tempting)


Remember … you still have until the end of the month to enter the giveaway for 12 FQs of Blitzen from Basic Grey.

This giveaway will run for the duration of Blogtoberfest – that is, until midnight 31st October UK time - I’ll announce the winner as close to November 1st as I can, to give you plenty of time to make a little something for Christmas.

International entries welcome!


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