Mel and Mal's Soda Bread

Ingredients
  • 4 cups of white plain flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups buttermilk

This ltraditional Irish bread is an accompaniment to many Irish dishes but is particularly good with the Guiness stew as it soaks up all those delicious juices.

If you want a sweet version, just add in one cup of raisins to the flour mix in stage 1.

Serves : 6        Prep/Cooking Time : 1 hour

Tip : Eat within the day as the bread will go dry as there are no preservatives within the mix. Otherwise, toast and spread with thick butter.

Instructions

Make the Dough

Preheat oven to 220°C.

Mix the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a large bowl

Using your hands (wash first!), work the butter into the flour mix until it looks like breadcrumbs.

Make a well in the centre of the mix then add the beaten egg and buttermilk and mix well with a wooden spoon until it becomes stiff.

Dust your hands with a little flour to stop the mixture sticking to your fingers and then gently knead the dough until if forms a ball. If it is too sticky, just add a little more flour into the mixture.

As soon as the ball is formed stop kneading as over-kneading it will make the mixture dry and when cooked, hard. Then turn it out onto a lightly floured flat surface and shape into a round, then cut it into 4 quarters. Reshape these into 4 balls gently, try not to over handle the dough.

Pop the bread onto a lightly greased baking tray then with a knife, make a X on each ball, about an inch down. Not only does this give a nice pattern to the bread but it also allows the heat of the oven to penetrate the dough, ensuring it is cooked through perfectly.

Cover with a clean tea towel and let it rest for about 30 minutes in a cool place

Ready to Cook

Transfer to the oven and bake for around 35-40 minutes or until the bread is turning golden and when you tap on the bottom of the bread, it sounds hollow.

If the top is getting too brown, place some tin foil VERY loosely over the top of the bread - if you make it too tight, the bread will steam making it soggy - not what you want!

Remove from the oven and let the bread rest in the baking tray for around 5 minutes then place on a cooling rack.

Serve the bread warm or at room temperature.

MJ Harradine Ltd. Registered number 04633171
1 Yardley Way, Belper, Derbyshire DE56 0ES