Crusty bread that you can be tucking into in just over an hour – what could be better?
Week 3 of The Great British Bake Off was Bread week and the bakes were quick breads, baguettes and bread sculptures.
I definitely didn’t need to bake enough bread to open my own bakery so the bread sculpture wasn’t going to happen. I was tempted by the baguettes but they sound a little tricky and time consuming they would need to wait for another time when I was less busy.
I had been wanting to make Soda Bread since Rien bought me Paul Hollywood’s ‘Bread’ book for my birthday. I had gone to make it a few times and then realised I needed buttermilk and didn’t have any so decided to make something else instead.
So finally I was going to actually get round to making soda bread. I rushed into Waitrose on my way home to find an empty shelf where the buttermilk was meant to be!
A lovely lady went and had a look out the back to see if they had anymore and what must have been about 5 minutes later, back she came with some. I definitely learnt my lesson to buy my ingredients before Bake Off airs!
Although you can make your own buttermilk by adding 1 tbsp of lemon juice to 1 cup of milk and letting it sit for 10 minutes; I thought I better use the real deal for my first attempt at soda bread!
From watching the show, I learnt that you need to be gentle and handle the dough as little as possible. So don’t go crazy and start kneading the dough like you would when making other types of bread.
It is also what makes it the easiest bread I have made because it is so simple and quick.
I was very pleased with how the bread turned out, but as it is best eaten on the day it is baked I took some of it into work the next day (I thought seeing as it came out of the oven around 9pm, the following morning counted as the same day!).
They were all very grateful and complimentary – one of my colleagues even said it was divine! It was good to know it actually tasted like it should because I’ve never eaten soda bread before.
250g plain wholemeal flour
250g plain white flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt
- Put both of the flours into a large bowl along with the bicarbonate of soda and salt and mix together
- Add the buttermilk and mix using a wooden spoon or your hand to form a sticky dough
- Lightly flour the work surface and tip the dough out onto it. Gently roll and fold the dough to bring it together making sure you don’t knead it
- Shape the dough into a ball by turning it around on the surface between your cupped hands and then flatten it gently with your hand
- Place the loaf on a baking tray lined with baking paper and then dust the dough with white flour. Using a large knife, score the loaf deeply, dividing it into quarters. Open the scores slightly to allow the heat to get into the centre
- Set the loaf aside for 30 minutes to allow the bicarbonate of soda to work. In the mean time, heat your oven to 200ºC. If you are in a rush (or just don’t want to wait!), you can bake the loaf as soon as the oven is hot
- Bake the loaf on the middle shelf of the oven for 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown on top and pale brown at the base of the cross. The bread should sound hollow when tapped at the bottom
- Allow the loaf to cool completely on a wire rack. It is best eaten on the day it is made but can keep for a day or so if needed