Joanna of http://smorgasblog.ie/ shares a recipe for Irish soda bread - I hope you love it as much as I do! - Claire xo
I am so thrilled to be able to be asked by Claire to do a guest post for her blog. I’m afraid I’m not as glamorous as she is, but I do hope that my recipe for soda bread matches her high standards of cooking.
This recipe is modified from Darina Allen’s Brown Soda Bread in the Ballymaloe Cookery Course book. It makes one very large loaf. As there is only the Beau and me in my household, I cut the loaf into quarters, eating one straightaway and freezing the other three for later in the week. This bread keeps wonderfully in the freezer for up to 3 months, after that it gets a little dry.
600g brown wholemeal flour
400g plain white flour
200g wheat bran
2 tsp salt
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (bread soda)
850 ml buttermilk
Large mixing bowl, large flat baking tray, cooling rack
Preheat the oven to 230 C
Weigh the wholemeal flour, the plain flour and the wheat bran into the bowl.
Add in the salt and bicarbonate of soda.
Pour in the buttermilk and with your hand mix the buttermilk into the dry ingredients. I’m sure it goes without saying that your hand should be clean and free of all jewellery, you really don’t want this mix getting stuck in your rings!
Once you have a rough dough, tip it out onto your worktop and pull in any loose bits of flour until you have a large slightly sticky mass.
Sprinkle some flour on the worktop and over the top of the dough. With dry, floured hands roll the dough over the flour, tidying it up and making it less sticky and more cohesive.
Grease a large baking sheet and place the ball of dough on to it. Flatten the dough into a rough circle, to a thickness of approximately 5cm. Don’t worry if it’s not that exactly, there’s no need to get your tape measure out.
Cut a deep cross into the top of the bread and prick the four corners of the loaf with the knife tip.
These steps are traditional to firstly bless the bread (and to control its cracking during the baking process) and to let the fairies out of the bread. Having done a little research, I can’t find why soda bread in particular would be infested with fairies but couldn’t find anything about it. The Beau, who has an interest in these matters, thinks that it is probably to do with the buttermilk, apparently the fairies love it!
Put the loaf into the oven and bake for 15 – 20 mins before reducing the temperature to 200C. Bake for a further 20 – 25 mins. The bread will be done when it sounds hollow when tapped on the base.
Leave the loaf to cool before enjoying with lashings of butter and jam.