Anyone fancy a little bread-making this weekend. Why not try soda bread. It's so easy and delicious.
Soda bread is actually known as fadge where I come from and is basically a homemade bread resembling a large scone with a cross cut in the top.
I grew up eating this bread baked fresh every day. My favourite accompaniment was stewed rhubarb although butter with a sprinkle of sugar came a close second.
My granny was the queen of soda bread and kindly passed her recipe on to me. I have a long way to go to be as deft at making it as she was but practice makes perfect.
Granny was a little old school when it came to baking and used pretty random methods for quantifying ingredients. This was the original recipe she gave me and the cup and bowl she used for measuring.
I have weighed and measured to give you actual amounts. There are only three ingredients.
400g self raising flour
1 large egg
Preheat your oven to 165 degrees.
Add the flour to a large mixing bowl. You can sieve the flour to add air but granny didn't bother. She had a light touch. I'll leave it up to you.
Add the egg to the buttermilk and whisk.
Make a little well in the centre of the flour and add most of the buttermilk and egg mixture, about three quarters.
With your hand in a claw shape, fingers slightly bent and spaced out, gently mix until the dough comes together. Add extra buttermilk until you have a good consistency. The dough will be soft and not sticky. Not too wet or too dry and will hold together well in the bowl.
Sprinkle flour on your work surface and turn the bread out. Gently work the dough, bringing it together into a round cake shape. Soda bread is not a yeast bread and should not be kneaded roughly as it will become heavy and tough.
Put the bread on a baking tray and cut a deep cross into the top. This helps the bread cook through.
Bake in the oven for about 45-50 minutes. You will know the bread is ready when it has a golden crust and makes a hollow sound when tapped underneath.
Leave to cool on a wire rack and enjoy anytime. Soda bread is best eaten on the day it is made but will toast or fry well the day after.
Soda bread can be flavoured. All sorts of things make it more interesting. Some raisins or sultanas, cheese, bacon, herbs. The possibilities are endless.
To make a brown soda, simply use half wholemeal and half self raising flour.
If you have a go, happy bread-making.