You’ll be needing something to go with all the pumpkin soup recipes flying around at the moment. I found my fridge full of sundried tomatoes, olives and feta after a nice couscous-stuffed pepper and cod dinner, so a soda bread seemed like the perfect solution. I love making a regular loaf of bread but I needed something NOW, so soda bread to the rescue. All done and dusted in an hour, and delicious still warm from the oven. This bread rose a lot more than any other soda bread I’ve made but, unfortunately, I don’t know why so can’t tell you the secret. The usual soda bread recipes call for buttermilk or live yoghurt, but as this was a spur of the moment attempt to use up some questionable feta, I didn’t have either of those. Instead, I added some lemon juice to the 400ml of milk, which apparently makes something similar. It worked, so who am I to question..
500g plain flour
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp Italian herb seasoning
a handful of black olives
6 sundried tomatoes
1/2 block of feta
Around 400ml milk and lemon juice/buttermilk
Preheat your oven to 200C. Add the flour, salt, seasoning and bicarbonate of soda to a large bowl and stir together. Chop up the olives, tomatoes and feta into small chunks and add these to the flour mixture. Made a well in the middle of the bowl and pour in the milk/buttermilk. Stir as you pour until it starts to come together into a sticky dough. Tip onto a floured surface and use your hands to just bring it together, no need to knead. Shape it into a round and place on a floured baking tray.
Dust the top with flour and use a sharp knife to cut a cross in the dough, almost all the way to the bottom – this is how to make sure it cooks in the middle. Pop into your oven and bake for 45 minutes. If, like me, you don’t like a really crunchy crust, wrap the loaf in a tea towel when it comes out of the oven to keep it soft.