Soda Bread with Bacon and Chives

Servings: About 12 slices per loaf           Time: Roughly an hour                  Difficulty: Easy

A very tasty savoury loaf that’s ideal for breakfast (as well as other meals of course). Easy and quick to make too.

Ingredients

  • 90g – 100g bacon (4 – 5 rashers)
  • 450g plain white flour (not strong bread flour)
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 30g unsalted butter, diced & cold
  • A handful of chives (about 30g – 40g)
  • About 350ml buttermilk (If you have a little extra buttermilk save it for brushing over the loaf later.)

Directions

  1. Fry or grill the bacon until it starts to colour nicely. (Don’t let it go crispy) Cut it into small pieces and set aside to cool.
  2. Heat the oven to 220C/Fan 200C/425F/Gas 7.
  3. Sift the flour, bicarb. soda and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add the butter, taking care not to let the pieces all combine together. Rub the butter into the flour until the whole mixture looks like bread crumbs.
  4. Stir in the cooled bacon pieces and the chives. Make a well in the centre and pour in the buttermilk. Mix it all together to make a light, fairly sticky dough. If it looks a bit “rough & ready” don’t worry, that’s fine, it’s supposed to.
  5. Lightly dust your hands and the worktop with flour before turning out the dough. Shape it into a ball, kneading it only 3 – 4 times in the process.
  6. Put the ball of dough on a lined baking sheet and gently flatten it a little. Dip a large knife or a dough cutter into flour then use it to cut a deep cross in the dough ball, rocking the knife from side to side to open up the cuts a little. (Take care not to go all the way through the dough.)
  7. Sprinkle the dough lightly with flour. Or – as I prefer – brush the top with milk or any left over buttermilk then scatter over a handful of oats.
  8. Place in the heated oven and bake for about 30 – 35 minutes, until golden brown and it sounds hollow when tapped on the base. Place on a wire rack to cool fully.