In the words of Oprah Winfrey: I love bread. I could eat it all day everyday: rolls, baguettes, fruit loaves, the lot – but it wasn’t until recently that my Mum and I decided to try and make some for ourselves at home. We wanted to try something achievable and came across Rachel Allen’s recipes for soda bread. This recipe is an adaptation of her’s, and is exceptionally easy to make. It’s quick and looks so impressive once it’s out of the oven. I’ve broken up the loaf into four sections for the photo.
The bread is best eaten fresh on the day, but it keeps brilliantly frozen.
- 450g plain flour
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 1 egg beaten
- 110g mixed dried fruit (sultanas, raisins, currants)
- Approx. 400ml buttermilk
You will require a floured baking tray. We use a re-usable silicone sheet on the baking tray with a little flour on top.
Pre-heat the oven to 220ºC (200ºC fan).
Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large bowl, stir in the sugar and dried fruit. Make a well in the centre.
Beat the egg and buttermilk and pour MOST of it into the well, but leave about 50ml in the jug. You don’t want the mixture to be too wet, so be careful.
With a metal spoon or knife bring the mixture together. It is a messy, sticky dough – be warned! Do NOT knead the mixture, just combine the ingredients.
When all the ingredients are mixed, flour your hands and turn the dough onto a floured worktop, bringing it together into a round shape.
Cut an extremely deep cross into the dough, almost right down to the base. This is a bit sticky to do, but persevere. We push the quarters apart slightly, as they will come together when baked and you want a deep demarcation so you can break the bread into four sections once baked.
Place on the lightly floured baking tray. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 200ºC (180ºC fan) and bake for a further 25 minutes. About 15/20 minutes into this 25 minute period, cover the bread with foil to prevent it from becoming too dark. When cooked, the bread will be golden and sound hollow when tapped on the base.
Place the bread on a wire rack to cool completely before slicing. We break the bread into its four sections and then slice each of these up to put in the freezer. Enjoy!