There isn’t much that smells better than fresh bread baking in the oven. I try to make some every few weeks just for the pleasure of kneading and watching the various stages of the rising and proving process. Sometimes though there just isn’t time to put in all the necessary work that goes into a really good loaf. There is however normally always time to make an easy soda bread.
I really enjoy making soda bread. I’ve always got self raising flour, bicarbonate of soda and lemon juice in my cupboard so that added to milk from the fridge is all I need for a fresh loaf in under an hour. Today I opted to make 4 individual rolls and a small loaf from one batch of dough.
You will need:
350ml of buttermilk or semi skimmed milk with 2 tbsp of lemon juice and left to stand for 5 minutes ( I never buy ready made buttermilk – it’s really not necessary )
400g of SR flour
2 level tsp of bicarbonate of soda
1 handful of green olives, diced
Preheat your oven to 180C.
Mix your flour with your bicarbonate of soda, add 300ml of your milk and mix to form a sticky dough. If you think it’s needed add the remaining milk. Flour your hands and scoop your dough onto a floured surface, knead a few times just to form a round ball of dough. Divide into two. Add your diced olives to one half of the dough and push them in quite deeply, you then need to make your rolls by splitting into 4 balls and rolling slightly. Place onto a greased and lined baking tray, use a knife to deeply score a cross into the roll. Sprinkle with flour and bake for 20 minutes until golden. With your remaining dough, shape slightly and place in a bread tin or baking dish and score as above. I used a cast iron oval cocotte from Staub lined with baking paper. Using this type of pot with a lid gives an incredible crust. Sprinkle with flour and bake for 35 minutes until golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped underneath.
Leave to cool on a wire rack but not too much, this is absolutely delicious when slightly warm and smeared with butter.