In keeping with trying to be a little ‘Greener’ in my day-to-day life, one of my favourite ways is to bake bread. I’ve done it for years and am happy to use many different methods and styles. I have a bread machine and use that a lot, particularly when I want to wake-up to fresh bread.The delicious smell permeates around the house and gets me out of bed quicker than any alarm. The timer mode is a life saver. Having said that it’s tough to get Bread Machine recipes for wholemeal or high fibre flour so one of my daily staples is Soda Bread, made in the old-fashioned way by hand. It is so easy, quick, cheap and damn it’s good for you. I’m not a fan of cutting carbs and this high fibre bread makes a fantastic breakfast with scrambled eggs and smoked salmon. It’s delicious on its own with butter and can only make a good soup even better.
Let me talk you through baking a 1lb loaf of Irish bread that is yeast free and so easy a child can make it. If you haven’t made bread before you’ll wonder why it’s taken you so long. It’s strength and taste lies in it’s simplicity.
Heat your oven to 200 degrees celcius/Gas mark 6.
450g/1lb of Wheatmeal Flour
2 level teaspoons of Bread Soda
1 level teaspoon of salt
2 level teaspoons of Cream of Tartar
275 – 425 ml/ 1/2 – 3/4 pint of milk
(The Cream of Tartar can be omitted if you choose to use Buttermilk instead of fresh milk)
1LB Loaf tin greased and floured
Place the Wheatmeal flour into a large bowl. Sieve the bread soda, cream of tartar and salt and mix well with the flour. Make a well in the centre and add enough milk to make a soft dough adding a little by little until you feel the consistency is right. Turn out onto a lightly floured bowl and knead until smooth. If you feel the mixture is too wet add a little more flour. Now put into the prepared loaf tin and using a knife, score a cross on the top.
Place in the middle of a the oven for Approx 45 minutes. It should be risen and cooked through. Turn out from the tin, wrap in a clean tea cloth and leave on a wired tray to cool. Enjoy.
This bread freezes well so I often make two at the same time so I can freeze one for later. Also, a handful of sunflower seeds thrown in with the dry and ingredients at the start, is a delicious addition.