Great British Bake Off Bread Week: Soda Bread

I really enjoyed watching all the bakers on GBBO last week baking Soda Bread. As a complete novice when it comes to baking bread and anything with yeast in, I thought soda bread would be an easier bake for me to start with. Last Saturday I was also baking for necessity as we’re currently self isolating. We were out of bread and don’t get our food delivery until Monday night. It’s times like these when I’m glad I had some baking ingredients in! The only thing I didn’t have was some buttermilk which a lot of soda bread recipes have.

I googled what you could use in place of buttermilk and one website suggested using normal milk mixed with lemon juice. I had a bottle of lemon juice concentrate so I used a couple of tablespoonfuls of the lemon juice in with the milk. Whether it did the trick, I don’t know!

I used Mary Berry’s Irish Soda Bread recipe from her latest book and TV series: Simple Comforts. Here is a link to the book:

I used strong white bread flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda mixed up first and then added the milk and lemon juice in. The recipe asks for two teaspoonfuls of bicarbonate of soda but when I got my measuring spoons out I used a half teaspoon measure without concentrating. This meant that I’d only used half the amount of bicarb! Oops! Not good when the bicarb is the raising agent in the bread. It might turn out like a flat brick.

The dough was shaped together into a ball and put onto a baking tray lined with baking parchment. I marked the top of the loaf with a cross in the traditional way and then put it into the oven to bake for about 30 minutes.

My loaf got a little bit burnt on the top but every time I checked it (in 5 minute intervals) the base of the loaf wasn’t sounding hollow when I tapped it! It was still in the oven 10 minutes after the recommended cooking time. After it was finally ready, I let it cool down before we could actually use it for our lunch. Mr S and my daughter had bacon butties and I had Isle of Arran cheese melted on toast which was the last of the cheese we had brought back from our holiday.

I loved the soda bread and to get six slices nearly took up the whole loaf! There was just enough left for Mr S’s toast on Sunday morning! I’ll definitely make soda bread again and would love to add different flavours to it which made me think of the lovely things from Bake Off. As I needed a plain loaf for Saturday, that’s what I ended up making. Maybe I’ll try a sweet one next time!

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

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