Mar 05

Quick-rise Soda Bread


Soda Bread



Apologies!! A bit of a slowww start to March blog-wise. I have been working on a few things on the side but, that is poor excuse. What  exactly have I been doing? Well, spending money on eBay and online cake decorating stores. I am well broke now, so I can finally focus on blogging again.



Saint Patrick’s day is coming up and I am on a mission to make, bake and rustle up as many of the good things commonly associated with the Irish. On the menu this month : ‘Quick-rise Soda Bread‘, Spring Lamb + Barley Stew‘ and ‘Celtic Knots Cupcakes‘. I know the list sounds a little cliché, but I have never made any of the above before, so it’s going to be a brand new adventure for me.



Today we’ll start off with the soda bread. I have never been good at the bread making thing, so I was pleasantly surprised at how well these turned out … on my first go! It says a lot about how far I have come in my baking skills. I must be getting more comfortable working with doughs. Yay, me! To be honest, this recipe was very much a stab in the dark … I kinda threw a few ingredients together in a bowl and it turned out brilliantly. I have been reading up a lot on the subject of bread and soda bread in particular, so I was fairly sure that no fermentation period was required. I am aware that traditional soda bread does not contain any yeast, relying on the soda to give it lift instead … but I had a tiny bit left in a sachet so I threw it in anyway. Typical, isn’t it? And yet I wonder why so many of my baked goods fail. But this did not fail so I guess the yeast did nothing to alter the dough.



Soda Bread1




So first grab your ingredients. Remember, this isn’t a recipe that requires a long fermentation period, therefore it’s a fabulous recipe to have on hand when you are suddenly overcome by the need to accompany your meal with freshly baked bread. This bread is fairly rustic, with a nice crunch on the top and a dense chewy center … exactly how I like my bread. I like heavier country loaves compared to the light and airy varieties.


 Ingredients: (makes 8 rolls)

  • 1½ cups wheat flour
  • ¾ cup wholemeal flour
  • 1¼ cups warm milk
  • 1 tbsp white distilled vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1½ tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp dry active yeast



There really isn’t any method to this recipe. Pre-heat the oven at 200ºC and line a baking tray with parchment; dusting it with some cornmeal or flour.


Dump all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Warm the milk in the microwave for 30 secs – 60 secs.Then add the vinegar to the milk to sour it. Traditional soda breads use buttermilk, something which I never seem to have on hand in the house. So this is my alternative and it works every time.


Make a well in the flour and pour in the warm soured milk. Mix everything with a wooden spoon until it comes together in a wet, sticky ball.


Turn it out onto a generously floured surface and knead lightly with some extra flour, just until it isn’t so wet and sticky.


Now using a bench scraper, cut the ball of dough into half. Roll out the half into a log and cut this log into four equal pieces. Do the same to the second log.


Roll the dough pieces into balls, tucking the seams under. Place onto the baking tray and dust the tops with flour. Allow to sit for 20 mins while you wait for your oven to come up to temperature.


After 20 mins, place the tray into the oven, middle-rack, and turn down the heat to 180ºC. Bake for 30 mins. You will know the bread is done if they sound hollow when you tap them on the top and bottom.



Soda Bread2



I would say these have to be served ASAP, with slatherings of good quality butter. I tried one of these rolls fresh out of the oven, just as R. got home from work. Perfect timing! We savoured the fresh bread and I felt like I really achieved something. Each roll had a nice crunch to their crust and a perfect chewy interior; all the better for soaking up gravy with. The next time I make these I might just sprinkle some rolled oats on the top before baking. Just an idea.



I fully intend on making my own bread rolls the next time we have a dinner party, just to see if it will make a difference. Cost-wise I think it is definitely cheaper to make your own bread, but I suppose that is a pretty relative assumption to make. It really depends on what ingredients cost in your country. Also, the downside to making my own rolls would be the lack of variety. When I entertain I like to have a bread basket with assorted rolls in it. R. likes the white ones with sesame seeds, I like the chewy Italian varieties.



Well, whatever your bread basket preference is, I do hope you give this a try and let me know how you get on. I am not a pro at baking bread myself, so perhaps if you run into problems I would be the worst person to ask advice from. Happy baking, just the same!


~ Enjoy!~


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