Soda bread has to be one of my favourite types of bread to bake, due to the flavour and lack of time taken to make it from scratch. Sometimes if you’ve had a long day (presumably out foraging) and want to knock up a nice loaf of bread, without having to wait hours and hours for it to rise and proove, then soda bread is a really simple and effective way to make a bread that can accompany most meals.
The reason it is so quick to bake is due to the use of baking soda, and not yeast. You also don’t really need to knead the bread, simply mix the ingredients together in a bowl, add the liquid, shape into rounds and get into the oven.
Another nice thing about making soda bread is that you can use either milk, yoghurt, buttermilk or water, or a mixture of the 4. Its interesting to try it with different liquids and see how the end results change. It can be quite a healthy bread to make too, if you try it with a wholemeal flour instead of plain. Again its good to experiment here and see what works best for you, or using whatever you’ve got left in your cupboards (unfortunately there’s little here that you can forage for, but we’ll add more wild food recipes when we can!)
Soda Bread Recipe
250g white or wholemeal flour (plus extra for coating)
2tsp baking powder
150ml water, buttermilk, thin yoghurt or milk (or a mixture of all)
It doesn’t really get much easier than this to bake your own bread. Simply pre-heat the oven to the highest setting, and mix all your dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the liquid and mix to form a dough, then place on a worktop and knead very briefly to combine all. Shape into a round, and flatten to about 4cm high. Sprinkle flour over the bread, then add to an oiled baking tray or baking stone.
Cut an X into the loaf – take a big knife and cut nearly through to the bottom of the dough. This will help the bread to bake and rise, and makes it easy to share later too!
Stab the bread all over gently using the tip of a knife.
Put the bread into the oven and bake for around 20 minutes. When its ready, the bread should sound hollow when you tap it on the underside.
Be careful to let the bread cool down before slicing, or if you prefer you can tear it whilst its warm and serve with butter or olive oil. As mentioned, it makes a great accompaniment to most meals, but I love it with a homemade vegetable soup, or a wild mushroom soup (foraged for, of course). It’s also great just served with cheese and an onion chutney.