Wednesday, 22 February 2012

My Mam's soda bread

Most Irish mammy's make soda bread and all Irish sons think their mam's is the best. Well my mam's is really good and for the expatriate it has the advantage of not needing buttermilk, which is a hard-to-find ingredient in Montreal. It's also got an interesting texture with a bit of "bite" as it contains oat flakes.

This week I passed the venerable recipe on to my 10-year-old son and he baked a beautiful bread for the "semaine des saveurs" at school. Here it is.

Preheat the over to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. The oven should be well warmed up before putting the bread in so do this first.

Mix the following dry ingredients together in a large bowl:
  • 8 ounces of plain flour
  • 8 ounces of self-raising flour
  • 6 ounces of oat flakes
  • a flat teaspoon of baking soda
  • a heaped teaspoon of baking powder
  • a pinch of salt

In another bowl, mix the following liquid ingredients:
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 4 tablespoons of natural yoghurt
  • 3/4 of a pint of milk
  • a heaped tablespoon of honey

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour the liquid mixture into it. Mix quickly with a large fork - it'll be sticky and look a bit raggy. Tip out onto a lightly floured surface and work by hand for no more than half a minute - don't knead like a yeast bread. Shape it into a circle around 8 inches in diameter, make a cross on the top with a sharp knife and place it in a greased 9 inch diameter (or larger) cake tin. Put it in the oven for 45 minutes.

When it's done it has a lovely mocha colour, like this:

That's it. Great for breakfast with butter and jam, or for lunch with smoked salmon.

There's a very good video here that shows this process; the woman looks like she really knows what she's doing but my mam's recipe is better!

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