Friday, 24 May 2013

Recipe: soda bread

I've been making soda bread these last few days because my guest can't eat 'normal' bread.  I love soda bread - it takes me back to a family holiday in Ireland when I was a teenager.  We stayed on a farm and the farmer's wife baked us endless loaves of soda bread which we children devoured warm with melting butter and cheese or home made jam.   You'd have thought we hadn't been fed for a month of Sundays, the way we leapt on it with shouts of delight!

Anyway - soda bread.  It's so easy to make and so utterly delicious, I thought I'd post a recipe for it here.  It may not be extremely frugal but it is certainly a whole lot less expensive than the bought kind and, I think, nicer too.  It's also quite a forgiving recipe.  Buttermilk is the best liquid to use (and most supermarkets seem to stock this now) but I have made it with yoghurt and I have made it with just milk  and I have made it with a mixture of water and yoghurt and it seems to respond well to all of those.  And I must remember that if I have milk that is just starting to go off and which I would normally throw out, that works too.

Anyway, here's the recipe I use.
170g self raising flour (I use white)
170g plain flour (I use wholemeal - in fact this week I have used strong wholemeal because that's all I had in the wholemeal line, but you can use white)
half tsp bicarbonate of soda (if you're using all plain flour, increase this to about 1 heaped tsp)
half tsp salt
(I also rub in a little butter, but you don't have to)
290mls buttermilk.  I use a pot and I just make it up to 290 with some milk.

Heat the oven to 200/gas 6
Mix the flours, salt and bicarb in a bowl.  Make a well in the centre and add the buttermilk, mixing quickly with a fork to make a soft dough.  Tip out onto a floured board and knead briefly (or cheat and bung it in Thermione to do all the work - 1m30 seconds on bread is enough kneading)
Shape into a ball, flatten by pressing down on the top, cut a cross in the centre with a sharp knife (or use a long handle of a wooden spoon to make a deep cross -the loaf can then be separated into quarter segments which is handy for serving).  Place on a lightly floured baking tray (I use a teflon liner)
Place a bowl of boiling water in the bottom of the oven and bake the loaf for around 30 mins until it sounds hollow when the base is tapped.  Cool on a wire rack.
It dried out quickly so what you don't eat soon can be well wrapped and frozen.

I've just costed it out using value white flour and Morrison's buttermilk it comes to 72p.  It makes a loaf that can serve four to six (depending how greed - er, I mean hungry - you are.
It makes a 630g loaf:  to put this into perspective, the only supermarket soda bread I could find was the Rankin Irish Brown Soda Bread and that costs £1.25 for a 400g loaf.  It's a win-win-win - win for time, win for taste and win for cost!


  1. Hi Joy - Thanks for recommending baking paper with Teflon® nonstick coatings while making your Soda Bread recipe! I represent DuPont and it's always a pleasure to see people recommending our products in their recipes.

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  2. I use my Teflon liner a lot - it is very helpful and certainly prevents sticking which saves on the washing up too!
    J x