I’ve written about making soda bread on this blog before. It’s my other go-to recipe for using up buttermilk after scones, which I already made last week. I’d planned to make this bread first but had run out of baking soda and our little local delhaize didn’t have any.

Yesterday, when I got home from Luxembourg, I did have some soda in the cupboard. And not really having anything else to eat for lunch, and decided to make some. It’s another of those ridiculously quick and easy recipes, so that when you’re making it you wonder why on earth you only get around to it every nine months or so. It’s soft and a bit of the cakey side of the bread spectrum. And it has this wonderfully thick and crunchy crust surrounding it!

Our main room is flooded with sunshine from noon until about three, so I ate this sitting in the sunshine, enjoying the quiet before I started my afternoon of cleaning and organising. It’s best served warm, with generous amounts of salted butter and jam. Blackcurrant jam is my favourite right now. This time I just made a half quantity because there’s only me to eat it today and it’s best fresh. I can always make another mini loaf tomorrow… :)

Soda Bread (from The River Cottage Family Cookbook)

What you need:

  • 250g / 9oz plain flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tsp soft brown sugar
  • 225 ml / 8 floz buttermilk

What you do:

  1. Heat the oven to 230c / 445f / GM8
  2. Sift the flour, salt and soda in a mixing bowl and add the sugar
  3. Stir in the buttermilk, at first with a wooden spoon, bringing it together in a doughy mass with you hands. It should feel soft and firm, not sticky (Fi: I didn’t need all the buttermilk, add a little at a time until it’s the right consistency)
  4. Knead for a minute until smooth and shape into a ball. Slash a deep cross in the top of the loaf (this will allow the bread to open out as the soda expands the dough)
  5. Bake in the oven for about 12 minutes, the turn the oven down to 220c / 400f / GM6 and cook for another 15-20 minutes, until the base sounds hollow when you tap it.
  6. Let cool for ten minutes, then cut into thick slices and serve.
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