For me, some of the most relaxing moments in the week take place in the kitchen. It’s not always at dinnertime, mind; these moments always happen a bit later in the evening when the kitchen is empty and I get the urge to bake something.
I’ve always loved baking and despite all the recent popularity and distraction of neon-coloured cupcakes and macarons, one of my favourite things to bake is Irish soda bread.
It comes a close second to freshly baked scones, but what I love about soda bread is its functionality. While the first few slices cut warm from the loaf, slathered in butter and jam, are sweet enough for some late supper snaffling, the rest of the loaf can be used throughout the week.
The one thing that everyone always says about this recipe is just how easy it is to make freshly baked bread at home.
Because the bread gets its rise from the bicarbonate of soda, there is no waiting around—it’s just a case of mixing, shaping and baking.
So get your bake on, and give this recipe a go this weekend!
This soda bread recipe bakes an incredibly tasty loaf, which is wonderfully easy to make. If you don’t have a loaf tin, you can also shape the loaf round, and simply place it on a floured baking sheet. However, I find that baking it in a tin gives it a better crust.
Makes one loaf
• 200g of wholegrain flour
• 275g strong white flour
• 350ml buttermilk
• 1 generous teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
• 1 large free-range egg
• 1 teaspoon of honey
• A pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 190˚C. Grease and flour a 900g (2lb) loaf tin.
Combine the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a mixing bowl.
In a Pyrex measuring jug, measure out the buttermilk and then whisk in the egg and honey.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and then pour in the wet mixture. Add a little extra flour if you find the dough is too wet and sticky.
Using a wooden spoon, bring the mix together to form a dough. Shape into a rough oval and place in the loaf tin.
Sprinkle with a little flour on top and bake in the oven for 35 minutes. The bread is cooked when you can turn it out on a wire rack, and when the bottom is tapped it should sound hollow.
Allow to cool before slicing and enjoying with a little butter and jam.