Sunday, 17 July 2011

Soda Bread

i think many people refrain from making bread because they think its too difficult, its too time consuming or its vastly more expensive than shop bought bread. well, i'm here to prove you wrong. bread can be just as fun to make as a cupcake, depending on what ingredients you use it isn't all that expensive, and if you're really picky, you can add all kinds of things to a basic recipe.

my mum is usually the bread maker in the house - not that i'm complaining, she makes a damn good loaf! our family eats a lot of bread as toast in the morning and because all of us have packed lunches for work/school, so on an average week, my mum will make 4 loaves of bread, and we'll buy in a loaf of sliced bread too. but my poor mum has hurt her hand, so she can't knead the bread :( we haven't had fresh baked bread for a while now, so i thought, while i'm in the kitchen, i might as well rustle up a loaf of soda bread.

this recipe comes from the River Cottage Family Cookbook by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Fizz Carr, which i got years back as i christmas present, and i treasure it dearly - it has some amazing recipes.

soda bread is probably the most simple thing you can bake, really, simpler than a muffin, cookie or cupcake! you really just bung everything together, knead it for a minute or so, plop it onto a baking sheet and bake, no time needed to let it rise, as there is no yeast.
buttermilk is normally used in soda bread, but live yoghurt is just as good, if not better! plus, it's cheaper than buttermilk, and more readily available.
bung everything in, and start mixing it together with a wooden spoon - but once you get to this stage, its really important you get your (clean) hands in, and give it a good knead, like any bread. it shouldn't be a sticky dough, just firm and smooth - if it is sticky, add some more flour.
the tighter you form the dough ball, the less likely it will be to spread out, so you'll end up with a more vertical, useful loaf. give it a good, deep cross with a sharp knife - that will give it chance to rise without forming great big caverns on the sides.
see, it may not be perfectly rectangle, or the most aesthetically pleasing loaf of bread, but it is yours, its delicious and you know exactly what went into this loaf.

plus, i had a loaf of bread within an hour of when i thought of making one - perfect timing!

250g plain flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp soft brown sugar
225 ml buttermilk/live yoghurt

dump everything in a big bowl, and give it a good mix with a wooden spoon
get your hands in there - bring it together, adding some more flour if it is too sticky
knead it around the bowl for a minute or so, until smooth but not tough
stick in the oven at 230 degrees for 12 minutes, then turn it down to 200 degrees for 15-20 minutes
it will be done when you tap it on the bottom, and it sounds hollow.

eat warm from the oven, slathered with butter and jam. congratulate yourself for making a loaf of pure brilliance. delicious.

sarahhh xxx

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