I don’t know if it is twinkly eyed Paul Hollywood who has got us going or if we just want to make our own so we know exactly what we are eating but everyone is making bread. Yesterday I was collecting my children from a friend’s house when I realised I would be a couple of minutes late because I had a loaf in the oven. When I arrived to pick them up and explained my delay, my friend said she too had a loaf cooking.
I must admit to using the big mixer often for kneeding my dough, not that it is in anyway arduous but just a matter of time – while that is chugging away I can be getting on with something else. Time is the main consideration when making a loaf of bread. For sure, putting ingredients in a bowl and mixing them is easy but before you start think about when you want to eat it. I have on occasion had to go to bed later than planned to allow for the second rising and then the cooking. Equally, you can’t start making it much less than three hours before you want to eat it. Unless you make my seedy soda bread.
There are times when you need to produce an almost instant lunch from ingredients you have to hand and also times when you just want to rustle up a loaf of bread pronto and this is just the ticket. No kneeding, no proving, almost no work at all and yet – when it comes out of the oven, the smell, the feel, the taste of it….. Such a monster result for minimum effort.
You can find tubs of buttermilk fairly easily in the shops usually next to the cream or creme fraiche. Failing that yogurt thinned down with a little milk will work just as well (aim for 250ml yogurt thinned with milk to just shy of 300ml). You can use wholemeal or white flour, I tend to go for a mix of the two.
Partner this heavenly loaf with some soup and cheese for a truly good lunch and bask in the glow of your homemade bread.
2020 update – you can use just plain flour if that is what you have or a mix of flours up to 300g – soda bread is very forgiving and I know some flours are difficult to come by. Remember if you haven’t got buttermilk then yogurt and milk (see intro) work a treat. By all means leave out the seeds if you prefer. Also why not try my quick and easy flatbreads (March 2018) which use self-raising flour but you could use plain.
Seedy Soda Bread
150g wholemeal flour, plus a bit extra
150g plain flour
1 teaspoon fine salt
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons soft brown sugar
284ml tub buttermilk (or yogurt, see introduction)
20g mixed seeds, I use sunflower and pumpkin
Preheat the oven to 200. Lightly toast the seeds in a frying pan until just beginning to colour and leave to cool a little. Put the flours, salt, bicarb, sugar and seeds 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.
If it lasts beyond lunch, this makes great toast and is also unbelievably good spread with a little horseradish and topped with smoked salmon.