I made this recently to put out before lunch when friends came over and it was gone in minutes. Served with a garlicky courgette dip it was just the ticket with some pre lunch drinks and kept the children more than happy. As luck would have it this takes minutes to make and as such is something I regularly turn to. Although I love making all kinds of bread and make a loaf of white or sourdough weekly, this is a great one to have up your sleeve when the clock is ticking and there is no time for proving and rising.
Whilst I might not have buttermilk in the fridge at all times, I always have yogurt to hand. This, let down with a bit of milk, works a treat in place of buttermilk and means a loaf of this moreish bread is never more than about half an hour away. My daughter adores olives and chilli so can polish off half of this loaf without thinking and it takes the sting out of the veggie soup or salad that often accompanies it.
Essentially a riff on my seedy soda bread, April 2013, I add some punchy flavours to this one. The chilli is up to you but I think it works a treat with the olives and thyme. There is a thyme plant outside the kitchen that manages to soldier on whatever the weather so along with some store cupboard olives this one is always a contender for lunch or supper. Or serve as I did at the weekend with a dip, a herby labneh perhaps or hummus and you will have happy faces all round.
Olive, thyme and chilli soda bread
I make this with a mix of wholemeal and regular white flour but you can go with all white if you prefer or if that is what you have. Buttermilk sometimes comes in 284ml tubs for some reason so just make this up to 300ml with milk. If you are using yogurt, use 200ml and make it up to 300ml with milk.
150g wholemeal flour, plus a bit extra
150g plain flour
1 teaspoon fine salt
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons soft brown sugar
300ml tub buttermilk (or yogurt, see introduction)
50g olives, I like a mix of green and black, chopped up a bit
1 teaspoon thyme, leaves only
1/2 teaspoon chilli (omit this if you like)
Preheat the oven to 200. Put the flours, salt, bicarb, sugar, olives, thyme and chilli in a large bowl and mix. Add the buttermilk and give it a good mix together. Sprinkle some wholemeal flour on a baking sheet, make the dough into a ball, put on the tin, sprinkle a little more flour over and cut a cross in the top with a sharp knife. Bake for 30-35 minutes until crusty, golden brown and sounds hollow when you tap the bottom.