The breaking of bread


As I introduce Wine and Olives to the world, it seems fitting that I type with a cold glass of wine to my left, and a glistening bowl of olives to my right. The migration of my blog, erucola, to this shiny new website you’re reading was born out of a desire to make my work more accessible. ‘Erucola’ didn’t exactly roll off the tongue, whereas the words ‘wine and olives’ are an undeniably well matched pair of nouns, which always taste better together.

Now that I’ve explained how Wine and Olives came into being, I should explain the title of today’s post, and how I came to find myself at the top of Calton Hill, with a sudden urge to make soda bread. It’s undeniable, soda bread is most certainly the easiest and least time consuming of breads to make. So with only a few hours before bedtime, I knew just what would make the perfect pre-bedtime snack.

Soda bread takes ten minutes to make and 30-40 minutes to bake. In the time you’ve washed up, your bread will be ready. Best served warm, this loaf should be layered with butter or jam. Unlike other breads, this variety doesn’t keep well, so it’s best eaten within the first 24 hours of baking. But don’t fret, any leftovers make for good toast.

Soda bread

  • 370g plain flour plus extra for dusting
  • 130g wholemeal flour
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1tsp salt
  • 40g butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp treacle
  • 284ml buttermilk
  • 20ml semi-skimmed milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 200° C. Add the flours, bicarbonate of soda and salt to a large bowl and mix. Make a large hole in the centre of the mixture and pour in the melted butter, treacle and the milk. Once mixed, you should have a loose, sticky dough.
  2. Lightly dust your work surface and tip the dough onto it. Knead the dough for a couple of minutes then shape into a ball, with a smooth top.
  3. Place the dough on a baking tray and flatten slightly. It isn’t soda bread if it doesn’t have its trade-mark cross. Take a wooden spoon and press the handle down across the middle of the dough until you reach the baking tray below. Do the same across the width of the bread. You should now have a cross on your loaf.
  4. Dust lightly with some flour, and bake for 30-40 minutes. The bread is ready when it has risen nicely and the bread is brown.

As you can see, this bread couldn’t be easier to make. An added bonus is a house which smells of freshly baked bread – now that’s something that’s hard to beat!

  • http://foodineer.blogspot.com Hannah Ewan

    Always forget about soda bread! And always lost for things to do with leftover treacle. Will be making this for lunch tomorrow :-) Thanks!

  • chiara

    Thanks Hannah! Did you make the bread for lunch? I hope you enjoyed it!

  • http://fourcolourblack.blogspot.com Adam

    Talk about a little late stumbling upon this post. Did you try to make Tom and Henry Herbert’s soda bread following their little stint on Channel 4? Yours actually looks better though… drool

  • chiara

    No Adam, I haven’t tried their recipe, but will definitely give it a go now!