|A soda bread loaf I baked from this recipe|
Soda bread originates in Ireland where the local wheat strains were usually too soft to use for yeast breads. Soda bread is made from the same plain flour you would use for biscuits and pastry with bicarbonate of soda as a raising agent. You do not need expensive flour. I use supermarket’s own brand cheapest flour for this.
I have reviewed a number of recipes for soda bread. Most require buttermilk which I am unable to find in a local supermarket. I have substituted this with plain yoghurt (supermarkets cheapest), There is also some disparity about the amount of bicarbonate of soda. Some recipes say one teaspoon, some say two, so I have opted for two level teaspoons which should be somewhere in between.
It takes about 15 minutes to heat up the oven and make the dough plus a further 40 minutes to bake it. Because there is no yeast you don’t need to wait for rising and proving prior to baking.
500g plain flour (not strong bread flour)
2 level teaspoonfuls of bicarbonate of soda
1 level teaspoonful of salt
500ml tub of plain yoghurt
- Put the oven on at 200C (190C for a fan assisted oven).
- Wait until the oven is nearly at the correct temperature.
- Grease a baking tray.
- Put the flour in a mixing bowl.
- Add the salt and bicarbonate of soda.
- Stir thoroughly.
- Add the yoghurt a bit at a time and stir in using a table knife.
- Bring in more of the flour and keep adding more yoghurt until you have a dough with no flour left (you should need between 400 and 500 ml of yoghurt to achieve this). It doesnt matter if the dough is slightly on the wet side as long as its workable into a ball.
- Empty the dough onto a floured board and bring it together into a round lump.
- Do NOT knead it other than folding it over to form it into a lump and make it the correct shape).
- Place the dough on the baking tray.
- Take a wooden spoon, put some flour over the whole handle, then put it on top of the bread, push it down until you feel the baking tray at the bottom, then turn it 90 degrees and do the same again.
- Dust with flour.
Bake in the oven for 40 to 50 minutes at 200C (190C for fan assisted ovens) or until it is baked and tapping on the bottom of the loaf makes a hollow sound.
The bread will rize to about twice its original size.
For a brown loaf use 370g white flour and 130g wholemeal flour.