Thursday, 13 January 2011

Soda Bread

I have always wanted to bake my own breads but was always too scared.  I baked my first ciabatta bread last year and it was quite easy actually, so I don't know why I'm so nervous.  My mom is a baking and pastry chef, so it should be in the blood, right?  Maybe not so much scared because baking may seems difficult and tricky, I like a challenge, but because it can be time consuming and I often don't have the patience.

I saw Lorraine Pascale on her new TV program, Baking Made Easy on the BBC a couple of days ago and she did make baking seem so easy and effortless.  I'm already eyeing up many of her recipes from her latest book.  On the first episode, Lorraine baked soda bread and it looked really easy and I thought, "hmm...I think I can do that".  So, this morning when I had the time, I baked my first soda bread and it's-oh-so-easy and quick too.  Nothing like the smell of freshly baked bread in the morning.  I had a big chunk with my morning coffee; warm bread, soft butter and apricot jam. Yum.


As I was already on a baking mode, I also baked a batch of Blueberry Cornmeal Muffin from Nigella's book but I couldn't take any pictures as my camera decided to die instead (battery needs charging).  I took some of the muffins to work and received some very good comments and ruined diet plans for some people.

A little update on my essay: it's almost done and I can almost say goodbye to Erving Goffman (who is a sociologist with a theory that we are all actors living on a stage, performing our lives).  I just need to tidy things up a bit and it'll be over. Well, until the next one...

Soda Bread
Recipe by Lorraine Pascale

370 g plain flour, plus more for dusting
130 g wholemeal flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon salt
40 g butter, melted
1 tablespoon black treacle
300 - 340 ml buttermilk (or alternatively use warm milk plus 1 tablespoon of lemon juice)

Preheat the oven to 200 C. Place the flours, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large bowl and stir together.  Make a well in the middle and add the melted butter, black treacle and buttermilk and mix to make a loose sticky dough.

Tip the dough into a lightly dusted work surface and knead for one minute, then shape it into a large bowl with a taut, smooth top.  Place the dough on a baking tray and flatten it a bit.

Put some flour on a handle of a wooden spoon and put it on top of the bread horizontally and push it down until you feel the baking tray at the bottom.  Repeat with a line at right angels to this.

Dust with some flour and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the bread is brown and has risen nicely.  Serve fresh from the oven with butter and jam... bliss.


  1. Soda bread? I have yet to try this one...yours sure looks very nice. I totally agree with you in regards to the smell of baking good :-) Good luck on you essay!

  2. loved this TV show too! you should bake more bread, it is soooo satisfying!

  3. I felt the same way about baking breads...and when I made my first real loaf of homemade bread last year, I was like.. hmmmm..this is actually just takes patience (which I lack)!!
    I love soda bread..yours looks like it turned out really good!!! And the smell while it was baking was amazing, I'm sure!

  4. Soda bread....., I remember having a crack at that ages & ages ago..., I'm with you Michael, I'm not by nature a baker/pastry chef, I think it's got something to do with falling for the temptation to just add a bit of something to see what it'll taste like & of course in baking, that's a no no huh..., baking breads & the like is a bit of an exact science. So cool your Mom's a pastry chef :)
    Glad to hear your essay on good old Erving has been completed & CONGRATULATIONS on your award, you so deserve it my friend :)

  5. What a beauty! Haven't baked soda bread for long...must bake one soon!

  6. Hope your paper on Goffman is going well :) Give your instructor a slice of this bread :) This is a gorgeous soda bread. Your Mom would most certainly be proud :)