Soda Bread … Take II

30 Sep

Soooooooo………the last soda bread didn’t go so well, but a good friend of mine pointed out that apparently Mr Ramsay was doing a whole programme on soda bread annnnnnnnd PD’s mum is Irish so I thought a bit of insider knowledge might help. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to watch the programme, but used his recipe instead, and had a good chat with PD’s mum. It turns out that apparently a super hot oven is the secret (around 200C), and it’s pretty difficult to ‘over bake’ soda bread. PD decided it was time to have another go, which was actually quite bizarre because I’ve never seen him bake anything other than ANZAC biscuits, and he constantly maintains that he cannot bake for toffee…turns out he was wrong. He bakes a jolly good soda bread.

Here’s Gordon’s recipe, and a little tip: when you turn it over and tap it with your finger it really should sound hollow. If it doesn’t, turn it upside down and cook it for longer! Longer can be anywhere from ten to forty minutes, bear with it – it’ll be worth it. If it looks like it’s catching, pop a bit of silver foil on the top. We needed about an extra twenty minutes I think, don’t be afraid to keep it baking.

Recipe for one loaf

  • 350g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 150g wholemeal flour
  • 1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 450ml buttermilk

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl and make a well in the middle. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the buttermilk and add the rest to the bowl, mixing lightly with a fork as you add it. (Be careful not to overwork the dough but make sure all the dry ingredients are mixed in. Add the remaining buttermilk if necessary.)
  2. Tip the dough on to a floured work surface and knead gently for 30 seconds to combine. Do not overwork. Line a baking sheet with baking paper and dust with flour. Form the bread into a round, place on the tray and flatten slightly. Use a serrated knife to cut a deep cross in the top of the loaf.
  3. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 30–35 minutes until the soda bread is golden on the outside and cooked through. A good way to check is by tapping the base – it should sound hollow when cooked.
  4. Cool on a wire rack before enjoying warm or cold.
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