Famous Irish Brown Soda Bread
Happy New Year! Serious indulgence on my own behalf over the festive season has led me to admit that ‘something’ has to be done to get fit and healthy. So as the season of joy and good will to all men ends, I find myself in a bit of a dilemma. If I mention the word diet I will immediately start over-eating in my bodies bid for survival. If I just ignore the reality of the situation the same thing happens, funnily enough.
This is going to have to be a team effort. And that team is you dear reader. So join me in a non-diet/get fit/nutritious food sort of health kick. Misery loves company.
Don’t worry, the healthy recipes will be liberally sprinkled with indulgent ones. But let’s start with the basics. A good home baked brown bread cannot be beaten. And if it’s made with spelt flour it’s even better, as white spelt has the same whole grain content as processed brown flour. Triple the goodness mixed with brown spelt. Keep up now!
Yes, as this loaf comes steaming out of the oven I know you want to lather it with butter and jam, but remember our resolution, moderation, moderation, moderation. So scrape on a little butter or peanut butter and top with sliced banana. Not necessarily low calorie but very good for you, and tasty to boot.
Brown Soda Bread
Pre heat the oven to 220 Celsius.
What You Need:
600g whole wheat spelt flour
2 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons of bread soda/baking soda
850ml butter milk.
Optional extras: a couple of tablespoons of porridge oats, quinoa (pronounce keen-wah so pleeeease stop saying quin-o-ah) nibbed oats, oat bran etc etc. These give the bread great texture. You can add a beaten egg for richness or a tablespoon of molasses for colour and flavour. And just for good measure and keeping in mind our healthy eating you could throw in a handful of mixed seeds or put some on top before baking.
What You Do:
Sieve the white flour and the baking soda into a large wide bowl. Add in the whole wheat flour and any of the optional dry ingredients. Mix together and make a well in the centre (that’s a big hole or crater). Pour in 90% of the buttermilk and the beaten egg if using. Now make your hand into a live spider (as opposed to the dead one which is up-side-down) and stir the mix gently but with conviction until it is evenly moist, adding the rest of the liquid as you reach that big pocket of dry flour mixture near the bottom. Do NOT over-mix. If it’s a wee bit dry don’t be afraid to add some more liquid, but do it gradually.
At this point you can turn the mix out into either 2 x 1lb loaf tins, onto a cookie tray in a round cake shape or two small rounds. Make sure the tin/tray is greased and floured. If you are using the round shape cut a deep cross in the loaf. If you are Irish and doing this you know exactly what I mean. If you are
foreign, Google it! But no matter what shape or where you are from DO NOT forget to let the fairies out by pricking the surface with a knife several times.
Bake at 220 degrees for 15 minutes and then reduce the heat to 200 degrees and bake for up to 30 minutes or longer until the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. If you are not sure, turn it over and bake for a further 10 minutes up-side-down. Cool on a wire rack or for a slightly softer crust wrap it in a clean tea towel first.
Peanut butter and Banana.