I know I’ve posted lots of soda bread recipes and have sung their praises lots of times. But I’ve just got to say it again – here’s a great loaf that’s so good, so tasty, so filling, so quick, so easy – so give it a go.
Makes: 2 medium loaves (about 12 slices each)
Time: 20 – 25 minutes preparation, 45 – 50 minutes baking.
Equipment: Nothing specialist, but a baking stone, while not being essential, does give good results.
- 375g/12.5oz plain flour
- 175g/6oz wholemeal flour
- 125g/4.5oz cheese* + 50g/1.75oz to go on top
- 50g/1.75oz finely chopped onion + 20g/1.75oz to go on top
- 20g/0.75oz caster sugar
- 7g/1 heaped tsp Bicarbonate of soda
- 5g/1 level tsp salt
- 1 tsp dried oregano (optional)
- 300ml/10fl oz buttermilk + 50ml/1.75fl oz milk held in reserve
- 50g/1.75oz melted butter or sunflower oil
- 50g/1.75oz cream cheese (e.g. Philadelphia garlic & herb or plain, also optional)
* Cheddar or Red Leicester are perfect for this recipe; I often use them both.
1. Preheat oven to 190°C / 170° fan / 375°F / Gas 5. Place a large baking sheet in the oven to heat up, or a baking stone.
2. In large bowl, mix together the flours, cheese, onions, sugar, bicarb soda, salt and oregano (if using).
3. In medium bowl, mix together buttermilk, melted butter and cream cheese.
4. Add wet ingredients to dry ones all at once; mix until a soft dough forms. Use small amounts of the reserved milk if and as required.
5. Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface. With floured hands, divide dough into 2 pieces.
6. Knead each one very lightly a few times and bring into a ball shape. Take the baking sheet or baking stone from the oven. Place a sheet of baking parchment on the sheet then lift on the dough balls well apart. (If using a baking stone, lift the dough balls on directly without any parchment.)
7. Pat the balls a little flatter then sprinkle with flour. Use a sharp knife to cut a deep cross on top of each.
8. Bake for about 40 – 45 minutes, until golden and there’s a hollow sound when you tap the base with your knuckles.
9. Sprinkle over the reserved cheese and onion.
10. Bake for a further 3 – 5 minutes just to melt the cheese. Cool on a wire rack*.
*Waiting for it to cool before eating it is the hardest part of the whole recipe.