|Photo by Gabriella Clare Marino on Unsplash
Brown soda bread
I grew up in Dublin and brown
soda bread was a staple part of our diet. Every few days my mother would bake a
loaf and the house would be filled with the smell of delicious bread. No need
for yeast, or time consuming pounding of the dough, the ingredients could be
put together in an instant. Warm from the oven, spread with butter and home
made marmalade, there was nothing better for breakfast.
Lunchtime it would be brought
out again to eat with soup or a slice of strong cheese. Later, with a cup of
tea, it went down well with some tangy raspberry jam.
Now if you would like to make
it, there are two vital ingredients which are required, both of which may be
difficult to source, depending on where you live. The first is buttermilk.
Available in most grocery stores in Ireland, but hardly ever seen in the shops
of mainland Britain. The second item required is coarse ground whole meal
flour. Most of the commercially available flours are too finely milled, and
though it is possible to make a white soda bread, it is the nutty flavour of
the brown flour that gives it its signature taste.
Provided you can get all the
ingredients, here is how to make this wonderful bread. This is the original
recipe and the measurements are in Imperial measure.
12oz whole meal flour
6oz plain flour
1 pint of buttermilk
2 heaped tsp of baking soda
1 level tsp salt
1 level tsp sugar
Method: Heat oven to Gas Mark
6, or 220degrees. Sieve the flour and soda into a bowl with the whole meal
flour. Add salt and sugar. Pour in the buttermilk and mix with a wooden spoon.
Mixture will be quite wet. Add a little ordinary milk if it is too thick. Pour
mixture into a greased deep tin. Mark the top and sprinkle a little flour over.
Place in the oven and turn it down to 190 degrees. Leave for 35 minutes. Turn
off the oven, place the bread back in the oven upside down to firm up the
bottom of the loaf. It is done when the loaf sounds hollow as you tap it.
As there is no yeast in this bake,
it doesn’t cause the excess gas and bloating that commercial bread may do. It provides a good source of fibre, and even
if it gets a bit dry, makes very nice toast.
What did you eat as a child?
Have you got some recipes which have been handed down through the generations?
Let’s share them together.
Previously published on Medium.