Cannot but improve
Bread always helps. It cannot but improve a long day, a bad night’s sleep, a general feeling of malaise. It feeds the body and warms the soul and even if everything else is going pear-shaped around you, it cannot but make you smile as you pull a hot, fresh and fragrant loaf out of the oven, waiting until it is just cool enough not to burn your fingers before diving in. Sustenance in one of its purest forms, here made purer by the fact you can knock it together and have it cooling down in under 45 minutes.
Soda bread is quick to make, by nature it has to be as the longer it takes to go in the oven once all the ingredients have been mixed together, the less light and airy it will be. So work fast to bring it together, throw it in the oven and in half an hour you’ll have a wonderful fresh loaf. Where you go from there is entirely up to you.
Herby soda bread
Adapted slightly from Healthy Gluten-Free Eating
190g gluten-free flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
25g dried milk powder
Scant 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Heaped 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon caster sugar
2 tablespoons chopped herbs; parsley, coriander, chives
1 egg lightly beaten
1. Preheat the oven to 230 C.
2. In a large bowl mix together the gluten-free flour blend, xanthan gum, dried milk, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, salt and sugar. Stir in the chopped herbs.
3. In a small jug beat together the egg and the buttermilk. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in most of the liquid. Using a spoon stir into the dry ingredients, then mix together with your hands. Add a little more liquid if necessary; the dough should be moist and cohesive but not too sticky. Pat the dough into a round about an inch high; make 2 deep scores across the dough with a knife and put straight in the oven. Bake for 5 minutes at 230 C, then lower the temperature to 180 C and cook for another 20-25 minutes until browned on top.
4. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes on the baking tray before cutting into quarters and serving with butter.
Best eaten the day it’s made but can be sliced and microwaved the day after to “refresh” it.