Mess-free Irish Soda Bread Loaf
I love bread. A lot. If you ask me what's my number one craving the answer is and will always be bread.
Perhaps fortunately, in Los Angeles I can't find good quality bread comparable to Europe. I end up buying pre-packaged rye flour types - German style - or sprouted multi-grain loaves. I am not a big fan of packaged bread, but I don't have much choice and that's the best I can find.
Baby Grace might be her dad's photocopy, but she's got her tastebuds from her mom: she devours bread and it's the only way I can keep her calm when she's in her stroller.
In my family, as true Italians, we are obsessed with freshly baked bread and we love it at every meal.
Nobody can't deny how comforting the smell of baked bread is. However, it requires a lot of time, attention and most likely, you cover your kitchen in flour. Yeast based breads need to rise once or even twice and cooking big loaves are not so easy if you are a beginner. It's common to burn the outside and leave the inside raw.
Is there a bread that can be made in record time without messing the kitchen and it's so easy you could even do it blind folded? The answer is YES! And it's also super delicious, you can freeze it and it's a lot healthier than any organic version you find out there, not to mention it'll cost you a fraction of the price!
I have great respect for Irish people - they understood that time is precious and if you're hungry you've got to feed those tummies quickly. Their soda bread is wholesome, quick and easy to whip up. Switching yeast with baking soda skips the leavening time and baking is a piece of cake. Also, no need to knead, so your nicely manicured hands will stay untouched too. Everything can be mixed with a spoon in a large bowl and then transferred into a loaf tin. To speed the rising even further, they add buttermilk which is fermented dairy, similar to kefir - all those bacteria help to activate the soda and make your loaf soft and well risen.
There are many versions of this bread. You can find it sweet and savory. I like mine savory without adding cheese or meats. By keeping it plain, it's easier to pair it with anything from jam to avocado or hummus.
It's the perfect solution for a quick lunch, a more robust breakfast or as a kid's snack.
Once you start baking your own bread, it'll be hard to eat anything else!
50g (1/2 cup) rolled oats
300 g (3 cups) wholemeal flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
450 ml (half quarter) buttermilk (or plain kefir)
Preheat the oven at 360 F.
Grease a 9 inch loaf tin or use baking paper.
In a large mixing bowl, add all the dry ingredients and mix well with a spoon. Make sure the baking soda is dissolved into the flour.
Add the buttermilk and stir vigorously until you reach a sticky dough, too sticky to handle with your hands.
Transfer everything in your loaf tin and bake for 45 minutes.
Once the time is up, take the bread out of the tin and bake again for an another 15 minutes.
Let it cool completely on a rack, before serving.
The best way to store the loaf is by freezing individual slices that you can reheat in your toaster or in the oven.
If not consumed on the day, it's better eaten toasted.