Thursday, 5 April 2012

Recipe - Soda Bread

Warm soda bread, fresh from the oven, is one of life's great comfort foods; wonderful with a slab of cold butter and some marmalade, with cheese and a nice pickle or with a big bowl of soup, it is always guaranteed to please. It's also really quick to make, and this recipe avoids buttermilk, so that you can always make a loaf of bread from what's in your storecupboard, in less than forty minutes.

Makes one loaf

350ml milk
15ml / 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

450g strong flour

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar

Preheat the oven
to 210 degrees centigrade. Lightly oil a baking tray and dust with flour, or lightly oil and dust a 2lb loaf tin, depending on what shape of loaf you want.

Add the vinegar to the milk to sour it. The reaction of the acid with the soda is what causes the bread to rise when added to the dry ingredients.

Weigh the flour into a large mixing bowl. You can use a mixture of strong white bread flour and wholemeal flour, if you're feeling virtuous or want a brown loaf. 300g white to 150g brown works well - good brown bread flavour without the bread getting too heavy.

Add the salt, soda and sugar, and mix well.

Pour in the soured milk and mix quickly into a dough. Don't overwork it, just bring it together into a ball, then tip onto your tray and shape into a  flattened round about  one and a half inches deep, or tip into the loaf tin and press it into the corners.

Dust with flour, score the surface - a nice deep 'x' to quarter the round is traditional - and bake for 35 minutes, or until you have a lovely crust and the base sounds hollow when tapped.

Cool on a wire
rack before slicing and serving.

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