This is probably the easiest type of bread in the whole world! Ready to eat in 20 minutes from a standing start...
I don't claim to be an expert on making Soda Bread (I think I have only made it twice before), but I learned how to do it from an expert - Catherine Fulvio, food writer, chef and proprietor of Ballyknocken Cookery School in County Wicklow, not far from Dublin.
This is the recipe:
225g Plain flour
225ml Buttermilk (or ordinary milk soured with lemon juice)
Half tsp Bicarbonate of soda
Half tsp sugar (or Sweet Freedom)
Half tsp salt
Half tsp Cumin seeds (optional.) I added these because I wanted the bread to complement the Butternut Squash soup I wrote about a couple of days ago, which was also flavoured with Cumin.)
Pre-heat the oven to gas Mark 8 (230C)
Place the dry ingredients in a large bowl
Add the Buttermilk and mix everything together to form a fairly loose dough (if the mixture is too dry, add a little ordinary milk.)
Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and knead briefly and gently
Form the dough into a rough loaf shape (very rough is OK!)
Place onto a baking-tray, either greased or lined with non-stick paper
Sprinkle with the Cumin seeds and lightly press them into the dough
Bake for approx. 15 minutes, checking frequently
When cooked the bread will be lightly browned on the outside and should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Soda Bread goes stale very quickly (so they say), and is best eaten very soon after eating, preferably smothered in lots of butter!
The texture of this type of bread is very crumbly, more like cake than most breads. It's lovely and light. If you left out the Cumin seeds, this bread would be nice at breakfast time, with orange marmalade or blackcurrant jam.
Well, don't you agree that this is really simple? You must give it a go sometime.