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Monday, 25 January 2010

Irish Soda Spelt bread

I absolutely love Soda Bread, it's so quick to make, no kneading, no rising, delicious! I decided to make this particular loaf with half wholemeal spelt flour and it worked just as well as it does with all wheat flour. It turned out in quite a peculiar shape, which I think is more to do with our strange temporary oven which is actually more like a grill! Perfect with some delicious home made Oxford marmalade- recipe coming soon.

olive oil or butter for greasing
125g/9oz plain flour, 125g/9oz Wholemeal spelt flour
1 level tsp salt
1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp soft brown sugar
225ml/8fl oz buttermilk (if you don't have buttermilk, you can squeeze half a lemon into ordinary milk and heat it until it curdles or use live yoghurt)


1. Heat the oven to 230C/445F/Gas 8. Grease a baking sheet with a little oil or butter.
2. Sift the flour and soda into the mixing bowl and add the salt and sugar.
3. Stir in the buttermilk, at first with a wooden spoon, then bringing it all together in a doughy mass with your hands. It should feel soft and firm, not sticky. Add a little more flour if the mixture is too wet.
4. Knead the dough lightly in the bowl for about half a minute, until smooth, then shape it into a ball, as deep as you can make it. Place it on the greased baking sheet. Slash a deep cross in the top of the loaf with a sharp knife. This will allow the bread to open out as the soda starts to work and expand the dough.
5. Bake in the oven for about 12 minutes, then turn the oven down to 200C/400F/Gas 6 and cook for another 15-20 minutes, until the base of the bread sounds hollow when you tap it.
6. Allow the bread to cool for 15 minutes, then cut it into thick slices and serve.
This bread is so versatile, you can add an egg and a little butter if you want a richer finish, or try sprinkling some pumpkin seeds on top.
Either way, sit down and enjoy it with your favourite jam or marmalade!

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