Friday 9 January 2009

Garlic Soda Bread

The other night I decided to make a pasta dish for dinner. It was quick and simple. My only problem was I needed bread. To sit down to pasta or rice for dinner without bread to me would be unthinkable. I don't know why it should be so but it is. I usually make my own version of Nigella Lawson's Garlic and Parsley Hearth Breads. but it was late and I really couldn't be bothered faffing around waiting for yeast to rise. I then wondered if I could make a sort of flat bread using my soda bread recipe. For those of you who are not familiar, soda bread is common in Ireland and is so called because the levening agent is Bicarbonate of Soda or Baking Soda. It's a mix, stir and pop in the oven bread. No rising time. It is really a scone mixture. The reason this bread is part of the Irish culinary heritage is simple enough. In this land where the influence of the Gulf Stream prevents either great extremes of heat in the summer or cold in the winter, the hard wheats, which need such extremes to grow, don't prosper .It's such wheats that make flour with a high gluten content, producing bread which rises high and responds well to being leavened with yeast. Soft wheats, though, have always grown well enough here. In Ireland, "plain" soda bread is as likely to be eaten as an accompaniment to a main meal (to soak up the gravy) as it's likely to appear at breakfast. It comes in two main colours, brown (also called wheaten bread) and white. I digress. I was not sure if this idea would work or not but I glanced through Rachel Allen's 'Bake' I saw she had done something similar and it looked good. I just sort of combined Nigella's Hearth Bread Recipe with the Soda Bread. I have to report it was a runaway success. I will definitely make it again. Do you know it was still nice the next day split and popped in the toaster.


3-4 tablespoons Olive Oil
250gms /9oz plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon Salt
125-200ml /6-7 fl ozbuttermilk


Crushed squished or jarred garlic
Chopped parsley
Olive oil to mix
Maldon salt to sprinkle


Finely chop a little parsley and mix with some of the oil oil and garlic. Use enough that will spread generously across the top of the dough.

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 8.

Brush an 20cmx20cm/8"x8" square sandwich tin generously with olive oil.

Sieve the plain flour,baking soda and salt into a large bowl

Make a well in the centre, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and pour in most of the buttermilk.

Mix until it comes together to form a soft but not sticky dough.

Tip onto a floured surface and roll out to fit the tin

Set the dough in the oiled tin and dimple it all over with your fingers

Brush the top with the prepared garlic and parsley topping and sprinkle with a little maldon salt if desired

Bake for 20-25 minutes Just keep checking as all ovens are different.

When ready it will be golden brown, should feel firm in the centre and a skewer will come out clean.

Transfer it to a wire rack and cool for a couple of minutes.

Cut into squares and serve.

This gave me about nine squares of bread which was more than enough for two. If you want more you could double it up and use a bigger tin such as a swiss roll tin.


Sally said...

I love it when you digress. Telling us all the history of things and your thoughts. Whole reason I keep coming back.
Another good recipe Brenda. Thank you.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

This Soda Bread looks incredibly good and tasty! A delicious recipe, I'm sure...



Anonymous said...

Oh Sal this sounds fabulous. I love it when you digress too :)

Anonymous said...

Brenda that looks so good.

Silvy said...

Hi, I thank you to be you recorded to my blog, I have added you to mine preferred. I don't know well unfortunately the language English however this could be old if you added in your blog the traslator with the various languages.
A strong embrace. Silvy

Mary said...

Hi , i just discovered your lovely blog through my friends blog, hope you dont mind if i add you to my list...cheers!

Coby said...

Wow I never knew that Sally. Seriously thanks for sharing that info:) I just adore how confident you are with bread, you're a true inspiration for the way you have embraced the concept and SO run with it:D Funny you love to have bread with pasta and rice - pity you're not into carbs isn't it?:) Oh and btw, that recipe sounds fabulous!!

Anonymous said...

Yummy, I was going to make soda bread for the first time today but could not track down buttermilk on our high street anywhere. Will keep it in mind though. Yours look fab granny. Buntyxx

Kelly-Jane said...

Great idea! Love the background of soda bread too - really interesting :)

Sarah Nicole said...

Brenda, that recipe sounds so delicious and clever! I'll definitely have to remember it next time I make pasta. Your blog is most definitely an inspiration. Also, thank for you for providing both types of measures. I cook in metric however, I measure in inches so it helps greatly.


Rhyleysgranny said...

Rosa thank you.

Sal and George my mind is always wandering off in different directions. LOL I think it's interesting to read about foods and their origins no matter where.

Sandy Thank you x

Andras and Mary x Siete in modo da benvenuto qui

Coby You started my adventures in yeast bread LOL:) the baking soda variety is in my blood.:)

Bubty Remember the milk and lemon juice. It works just as well.

Sarah I am still an imperial girl at heart. I cannot think in grams or measure in cms :)

Rachel@fairycakeheaven said...

ooooo gorgeous, never thought of doing something like this before, will so totally me making it for dinner tomorrow!

Coby said...

Ahh, yes of course, but to be equally as confident in both styles of bread now - you really ARE just as good with yeast as the soda styles:)

Anonymous said...

Brenda, This bread sounds so delicious. I have never made soda bread before but you have inspired me. I can't wait to give it a try. Thanks so much for sharing.

Clabby said...

Perfect! My sister decided last minute to come and visit today and I've been raiding the cupboards to see what I can make without a shopping trip. I have all the ingredients in the cupboard for this. I go to bake!