Soda bread is typically thought of as an Irish bread, but is delicious no matter what country you live in. Rather than using yeast, this bread uses bicarbonate of soda to get it’s rise, and doesn’t need any of the usual proving time so its great for whipping up in a heartbeat. This bread is flavoured with rosemary and black olives, and made using a mix of wholemeal and white flour and so I feel it deserves it’s label of healthy- after all eating carbs is not a crime despite the surge in recent fad diets. I served this warm with an italian bean soup and it was absolutely delicious, perfect for the cool evenings we are getting now. We couldn’t quite eat all the loaf in one, so I put the remains out on our balcony for the birds. The next morning I saw a squirrel leaping of with it which made my day.
300g plain white flour
45g butter (unsalted)
1 1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
250ml sour cream
~ 3 tablespoons water
3 long sprigs of rosemary
150g black olives (de-stoned)
little extra flour for baking
- Start by preheating the oven to 200•C and lining a baking tray with parchment. This bread is quick to prepare so good to get the oven heating up.
- Next prep your fillings. Remove the sprigs of rosemary from the slightly tougher stalks, and chop finely. I find this easier to do using scissors. Cut the black olives, once de-stoned, into thin slivers. Try to avoid eating too many during this stage as I unfortunately did.
- Measure out the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl- so the blend of two flours, the salt and the bicarbonate.
- Cube the butter and add to the mixture, rubbing in with the tips of your fingers until no lumps remain.
- Thin the sour cream with a little water. I have said 3 tablespoons here but use a little of your own judgement. Make a well in the centre of your dry ingredients and add the sour cream. Incorporate the moisture in initially using a butter knife to slice through the mix. Next bring the dough together with your hand until it is one uniform lump.
- Tip out onto a lightly floured surface and knead in the olives and the rosemary. Continue to knead until these ingredients are well dispersed but don’t feel the need to knead (ha) for too long as you are not really working up any gluten here- it is the reaction between the bicarbonate of soda and sour cream that will give you the rise.
- Shape the dough into a ball by rounding and tucking under. Place on the baking tray and make two deep slashes using a sharp serrated knife in the surface of the dough- making a cross. You want the slashes to be deep enough to let the heat get to the centre of the bread.
- Dust with a little extra flour then bake for 40 minutes.
- Eat warm out the oven.