Tutti Fruiti Soda Bread

Savoury Soda bread is great, whether it’s cheese, or herbs, or chorizo. All are lovely. Here’s something a bit different though. It’s fruity and sweet, but not oversweet. The fruit and peel create a terrific texture too.

Makes: 2 medium loaves, about 10 slices from each

Time: 45 – 60 minutes

Level: Nice and easy

Need: One large or two medium baking trays (or baking stones if you have them.)

Ingredients (for two medium loaves)

  • 200g/7oz wholemeal flour
  • 300g/10oz plain white flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 115g/4oz golden caster sugar
  • Zest of an orange
  • 50g/1.75oz dried peel, ideally different colours
  • 50g/1.75oz  glace cherries, chopped
  • 50g/1.75oz  pistachios, halved or chopped
  • 150g/5.5oz sultanas, raisins and currants
  • 60g/2oz butter, melted
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 300ml/10fl oz buttermilk*

*A 300ml tub of buttermilk rarely gives you the full 300ml, just make up any small deficit with ordinary milk. If you need to use more milk then add some lemon juice into it to help the chemical reaction in the dough.

Method

1. Turn oven on to heat up to 220C / fan 200C / 425F / Gas 7. Line a large baking tray (or two smaller ones) and dust lightly with flour.**

2. Put flours, bicarb. soda, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl and mix together.

3. Stir in the zest, peel, cherries, pistachios and dried fruit.

4. Lightly dust your work surface with flour. Gradually mix the melted butter, beaten egg and buttermilk into the dry mixture and mix to form a soft dough. (You may not need all the buttermilk, so put it in gradually.)

5. Tip or scrape the mixture out onto the floured surface and knead briefly for a few minutes only. Divide into two equal pieces and shape each piece into a domed circle and place on the baking trays. Gently flatten the circle and cut a cross in the top of each piece. (Use either a sharp knife or a metal dough scraper. Whichever you use, dip it in flour first.)

6. Brush the tops with beaten egg or buttermilk and bake immediately for about 25 – 30 minutes, until browned and hollow sounding when tapped underneath. 

7. Cool on a wire rack. (Don’t slice soda bread too soon; it will be very crumbly until fully cooled.)

**Recently I’ve taken to heating my baking trays (or a baking stone) by putting them in the oven when I first turn it on. I like to get some heat into the dough from underneath as soon as it goes in the oven. I prep the loaves on separate silicone mats which I then lift onto the baking trays.

For lots more great bread recipes go to: https://retiredblokeonfoodnstuff.com/my-bakes/bread/