The breakfasts in my Dublin hotel were good but fairly generic. Cereals, preserves, grapefruit, eggs, sausages etc made for a very satisfying but pretty unexciting start to the day. The one shining light in the morning spread, however, was the soda bread. Spread thickly with sweet Irish butter, I ate mountains of it each morning vowing all the while to learn how to bake the loaf as soon as I returned home.
Joy! Turns out soda bread is the easiest loaf to make in the world! Just as well, I haven’t had much luck on the bread front this summer and was in dire need of some baking success to restore my confidence. That this loaf turned out perfectly first time and was greedily devoured by David and his friends within a couple of hours of it coming out the oven soothed by bruised baking soul. Shall be tackling sourdough again before too soon.
Soda Bread (adapted from Stephanie Alexander)
(makes 1 loaf)
450g strong white flour
1 tspn bicarbonate of soda
1 tspn fine salt
250 ml buttermilk
100 ml milk
- Sift the flour, bicarb and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre.
- Stir together the milk and buttermilk. Pour into the well then use one hand to stir the wet and dry ingredients together until a rough dough is formed.
- Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead quickly into a round loaf. Place on a non-stick baking tray and cut a deep cross across the top of the dough. Brush with extra buttermilk and dust with flour.
- Cook in a 230 oC pre-heated oven for 15 minutes then turn the heat down to 200 oC and bake for a further 15 mins.
- Cool on a wire tray.