Last Night’s Supper – Irish Soda Bread

 

 

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Tremendously appropriate for Cinco de Mayo don’t you think?

Oh well, the vagaries of my appetite don’t follow the calendar. I ended up making soda bread last night as curried butternut squash soup was on the menu and we didn’t have any good bread in the house. I’d also fortunately just bought a giant bag of wholewheat flour by mistake.

I’d never made soda bread before so I looked up a number of different recipes online and came up with this hybrid version.

Ingredients

4 cups wholewheat flour

1 cup bread flour (we only had white bread flour in the house)

1/3 cup rolled oats

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

2 cups buttermilk

1/2 cup normal milk (I added this because I didn’t have enough buttermilk, I’m sure all buttermilk would work)

1 tablespoon runny honey

 

Neither the honey nor the oats are particularly usual additions. I did find one or the other in some recipes though and included them to save the bread from that saliva-sucking dryness you get from some soda breads.  They worked a treat and gave the bread a delicious hint of nutty sweetness. 

The above ingredients make 4 small loaves. We shared one loaf between two of us with our soup.

 

Method

Preheat the oven to 425 F/220 C.  Lightly butter two baking sheets.

In a large bowl stir together all the ingredients, until a soft, slightly sticky dough is formed (according to many recipes I read, stickiness now avoids dryness later).  Form the dough into four balls with a light hand – no kneading and certainly no bread machines required. Mark each loaf with a X and place on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 30 minutes until the crust is golden and the bread sounds hollow when you knock it on its bottom.  The beauty of this bread is that from looking in the bread bin to discover there’s no bread in the house to eating a delicious loaf takes about 50 minutes tops.

Serve warm with lashings of unsalted butter.

Regret unsalted butter, but then think ‘what the heck’, and reach for more. It also makes SUPERB toast the following day. (Ours kept well in a ziploc bag overnight).

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