Traditional Brown Soda Bread
The buttermilk in the shops is low fat but if you have access to rich, thick buttermilk, there is no need to add butter or extra cream.
Makes 1 loaf
225g(8oz/2 cups) brown wholemeal flour (preferably stone-ground)
225g(8oz/2 cups) plain white flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 level teaspoon bread soda (Bicarbonate of Soda/Baking Soda) sieved
12-25g(1/2 – 1oz) of butter or 2 tablespoons (2 1/2 American tablespoons)of sour or even fresh cream
400-425ml(14-15fl oz/1 3/4 cups – generous 1 3/4 cups) sour milk or buttermilk
Wholemeal flour for the work top and baking sheet
First preheat the oven to 230°C/450°F/Gas Mark 8.
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large wide bowl, rub in the butter(if using cream, add to the buttermilk). Make a well in the centre and pour all of the sour milk or buttermilk. Using one hand, stir in a full circle starting in the centre of the bowl working towards the outside of the bowl until all the flour is incorporated. The dough should be soft but not too wet and sticky. When it all comes together, a matter of seconds, turn it out onto a well-floured board (use wholemeal flour).
WASH AND DRY YOUR HANDS. Roll around gently with floury hands for a second, just enough to tidy it up. Flip over and flatten slightly to about 5cm (2 inches)approx. Sprinkle a little of the spare wholemeal flour from the worktop onto a baking tray. Lay the loaf on top of the flour. Mark the surface with a deep cross and prick in each corner to let the fairies out of the bread. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes,then reduce the temperature to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6 and cook fora further 30 minutes approximately. Turn the bread upside down on the baking tray and continue to cook for 5-10 minutes. The bread will sound hollow when tapped on both sides. Cool on a wire rack, wrapped in a clean tea-towel while hot if you prefer a softer crust.
Florrie’s Brown Soda Bread
One could add 1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) of fine oatmeal or bran or wheatgerm, 1 egg and 12g (1/2oz) butterto the above to make a richer soda bread dough.
Kibbled Wheat Scones
Make the dough as above. Form it into a round and flatten to 4cm (1 1/2 inch) thick approx. Stamp out into scones with a cutter, or cut with a knife. Brush the top of the scones with buttermilk, dip each one in kibbled wheat. Bake for about 30 minutes in a hot oven (seeabove).
Note: Bread should always be cooked in a fully pre-heated oven, but ovens vary enormously so it is necessary to adjust the temperature accordingly.
If a lighter bread is preferred, use 450g (1 lb/4 cups) white flour and 150g(5oz/1 1/4 cups) brown wholemeal flour.
If you can’t buy commercial buttermilk easily, or want full-fat buttermilk, here is a simple method for producing your own. Commercial buttermilk is usually made with low-fat milk. This version, made with full-cream milk, will give you rich, thick buttermilk. To make low-fat buttermilk, use low-fat milk and 1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon+ 1 teaspoon) of white vinegar.
Makes 225ml (8fl oz/1 cup)
225ml (8fl oz/1 cup) full-cream milk
1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) freshly squeezed lemon juice
Put the milk into a deep bowl with the vinegar or lemon juice and leave to stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes. The milk will start to curdle. Stir well before using and store in a fridge in a covered container. The buttermilk will keep for a couple of days.