I go through phases of slow cooking. I will use it every day for a week then I’ll pack it away and almost forget it’s there for a month or two. Typically I use my slow cooker for joints of meat or to make casseroles or pulled pork but I have made a few puddings in there such as my popular hot cross bun & butter pudding and this week I decided to try making slow cooker soda bread. Now if you are a regular reader you will know that I make soda bread fairly regularly, at least twice a month and I always have the staple ingredients in my cupboards. It is good to know I can make a loaf from scratch with minimal prep and have it on the table within the hour if I use my traditional oven method. I was curious as to how it would work in the slow cooker and if the taste and texture would compare so I had a bit of a bread day yesterday and made 3 loaves to test my recipe.
And it worked surprisingly well. The concerns I had were mainly that the texture wouldn’t be the same and that it wouldn’t get a crust, I’m happy to say I was wrong. The external appearance is slightly different to my oven baked loaves as it isn’t quite as golden brown but the actual crust and texture were pretty spot on. The great thing about soda bread is how much you can adapt it, you can add any types of herbs or seasonings, you could even try adding chocolate chips or raisins for a sweet take on it. For this loaf I chose to add lemon zest and dried thyme for a subtle but delicious flavour. I tried two different methods when making my loaves, for one loaf I used baking parchment to line my slow cooker dish and for the others I sprinkled the dish with flour and placed the dough straight in. The finished product was much the same with a slightly crispier base on the ones I baked without parchment but the loaf was far easier to remove when using the parchment.
Slow Cooker Lemon & Herb Soda Bread
You will need:
400g self raising flour
275ml buttermilk ( I make my own using normal semi skimmed milk and a tablespoon of lemon juice, leave to sit for 5 minutes before using)
1.5 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
1tbsp dried thyme
Zest of 1 lemon
Mix your flour , bicarb, lemon zest and herbs in a bowl until thoroughly combined. Make a well in the centre of your mixture and add your buttermilk, don’t add it all at once go slowly and mix until you form a slightly sticky dough – you may not need the whole 275ml of liquid. Tip dough onto a floured surface and knead very lightly until you get a rounded dough. Place carefully into slow cooker dish onto your parchment or a floured dish and score a cross into the dough, go quite deep when scoring but don’t cut all the way through.
Sprinkle with flour and place lid on slow cooker, cook on high for 2.5 hours, remove lid and cook for a further 10 minutes ( I found this avoided any slight sogginess on top ). Remove from slow cooker, leave to cool and enjoy slathered with butter. Soda bread does not stay fresh for long, it is best eaten the day its made although the next day it makes great croutons or toast.
And here is a quick close up peek of the actual texture and inside of the loaf, as you can see it is exactly as a normal loaf of soda bread would look.
What do you like to cook in your slow cooker? I often share slow cooker recipes on my Facebook page, you can check my page out here.