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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Irish soda bread



Baking with yeast can be a daunting prospect, which is why Irish soda bread--which uses baking powder, bicarb and buttermilk to rise--is a easy task for baking beginners to tackle.

I love the chewy wholesomeness of Irish soda bread. My Irish friend tells me a traditional way to eat it is with butter and honey, but I much prefer it slathered only in butter, or otherwise sandwiched around a thick wedge of vintage cheddar and a pickle or two.

The caraway seeds in the recipe add a faint flavour of licorice. If you enjoy the taste, feel free to add more. If licorice isn't your thing, then reduce or omit at your pleasure.



Irish soda bread
(originally printed in Notebook Magazine, 2007)

2 cups (320g) wholemeal plain flour
1 cup (150g) plain flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp caraway seeds
1/2 cup (125ml) milk
3/4 cup (185ml) buttermilk, plus a little extra for brushing
2 tsp honey
sea salt flakes to dust

Preheat oven to 200C

Mix together the milk, buttermilk and honey in a jug.

In a large bowl, combine the flours, salt, bicarb, cream of tartar, baking powder and caraway seeds.

Make a well in the centre and then slowly pour in the milk mixture, gradually pulling in the flours from the sides to combine. Mix with a wooden spoon until it just comes together in a ball.

Transfer the mixture to a lightly floured surface and gently knead, using the heel of your hand, until smooth.

Shape the dough into a round shape, then place onto a lightly floured oven tray. Cut a small 1cm-deep cross into the top of the dough. Brush the surface with the extra buttermilk and then dust with the sea salt flakes.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a golden-brown crust has formed and the bread is cooked through (tap the crust and it should sound hollow, otherwise risk sacrilege and test with a skewer).

Enjoy warm with butter, butter and honey, or as part of a ploughman's lunch with vintage cheddar, pickles, pickled onions and hearty slices of ham.

This also freezes well, wrapped tightly. Freeze whole, or in slices for gradual consumption.

8 comments - Add some comment love

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posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 8/06/2008 05:52:00 pm


8 Comments:

  • At 8/06/2008 9:09 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi Helen,
    I wonder how this would go using spelt?
    I might give it a go and let you know...
    cheers,
    Ann

     
  • At 8/06/2008 9:32 pm, Anonymous Kristin said…

    Only discovered 'foodie' websites the other day when looking for ideas for 10kg of brown lentils. A dozen American blogs later I come across yours - WOW a home-grown Aussie one! Anyway I'm a vego so could I use soya milk in place of the buttermilk? Been madly trying recipes from the yank sites and am now excited about trying some of yours!

     
  • At 8/06/2008 10:51 pm, Blogger FFichiban said…

    oooohhh I've never had good experience with bread but this makes me wanna try again... mmm i can smell the melty buttery goodness already!

     
  • At 8/07/2008 11:30 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi Ann - I think that spelt should work ok. Let me know how it goes :)

    Hi Kristin - Oh welcome to the world of food blogs. It's tasty and totally fat-free :) I think the buttermilk adds to the airiness of the bread so if you used soy you might have to increase the baking powder and bicarb. Happy browsing :)

    Hi FFichiban - This bread is really easy to make. I've made friends with yeast now so I'm thinking about baking yeasted breads a lot more often!

     
  • At 8/08/2008 6:23 pm, Blogger Kelly said…

    Howdy Helen,

    That's one good-looking loaf of bread! I might have to give it a go!

    K :-)

     
  • At 8/08/2008 10:34 pm, Blogger Christine said…

    I have Irish Soda bread once a year when all my Irish friend's parents bake us some for St. Patty's day... but it never looks this good! This looks nice and crusty on the outside (like a loaf should be)... mmm! I might have to try THIS recipe this St. Pats! THANKS!

     
  • At 8/10/2008 4:26 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I love making bread and I have been looking for a nice soda bread recipe. I gave your one a try and it was a huge success. I will be ading the recipe to my burgeoning collection!!!
    cheers Noodlehead

     
  • At 8/14/2008 10:34 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi Kelly - Thanks :) It's an easy recipe so enjoy!

    Hi Christine - Awww thanks, and hey, I don't think you should wait until St Pat's to bake some btw!

    Hi Noodlehead - Don't you just love it when a recipe works? Glad to hear it was such a success. And yes, I too have a burgeoning recipe collection!

     

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