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    Soda Bread

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    Soda Bread

    This takes only minutes to make and is one of my 'great convertibles'. It's great if you add olives, herbs, sun-dried tomatoes or caramelised onions to the flour before mixing in the buttermilk.

    • Preparation time: 5 minutes
    • Cooking time: 35 minutes
    • Total time: 40 minutes 40 minutes

    Makes: 1 large loaf, enough for 6-8

    Ingredients

    • 450g plain white unbleached flour
    • 1 level tsp salt
    • 1 level tsp bicarbonate soda
    • 350ml buttermilk, plus a little extra

    Method

    1. Preheat the oven to 230˚C/gas mark 8. Sieve the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl. Make a well in the centre. Pour in the 350ml buttermilk, all in one go. Then, using one hand, mix in the flour from the sides of the bowl. Add more buttermilk if necessary - the dough should be softish, but not wet and sticky. When it comes together, turn it out onto a floured board. Wash and dry your hands, then knead the dough lightly for a few seconds - just enough to tidy it up. Flip the dough over on to a large, heavy baking sheet, and pat into a round, about 2.5cm deep. (I like to cut a cross in the top, too, which lets all the fairies out!)
    2. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 200˚C/gas mark 6 for 20 minutes or until cooked.
    3. Test by tapping the bottom of the loaf - it should sound hollow. Eat it on the day you bake it, preferably still warm, cut into thick slices and smeared with butter.
    4. To make soda scones, prepare the dough as above, flatten into a 2.5cm-deep round and cut into large scones. Cook for about 20 minutes at 230˚C/gas 8.

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