Monday, May 16, 2011

Hugh's Soda Bread

Half the world (well, NZ) and his wife must have been watching Hugh F-W this week as pretty much everyone I know is making soda bread! 
'Hugh's Everyday' is on tv just now and we can't miss an episode. It's a totally brilliant series.

I made loads of bread last year but as summer rolled in I kind of stopped but I wanted to get back into it again so this was as good a place to start as any.
Hugh's recipe is

* 500g plain flour  (I didn't use any special flour - just the basic "pams" plain flour.)
* 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
* 1 tsp fine sea salt
* Approx. 400ml buttermilk or live yoghurt
* A little milk, if necessary

I went the buttermilk route. The carton we can get at the supermarket is 600ml so I just upped everything else a wee bit.

Here's how Hugh makes it, and I copied it exactly.

1. Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl and stir in the salt. Make a well in the centre and pour in the buttermilk, stirring as you go. If necessary, add a tablespoon or two of milk to bring the mixture together; it should form a soft dough, just this side of sticky.

2. Tip it out on to a lightly floured work surface and knead lightly for about a minute, just long enough to pull it together into a loose ball but no longer – you need to get it into the oven while the bicarb is still doing its stuff. You're not looking for the kind of smooth, elastic dough you’d get with a yeast-based bread.

3. Put the round of dough on a lightly floured baking sheet and dust generously with flour. Mark a deep cross in it with a sharp, serrated knife, cutting about two-thirds of the way through the loaf. Put it in an oven preheated to 200°C/gas mark 6 and bake for 40-45 minutes, until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped underneath.

4. Cool on a wire rack if you like a crunchy crust, or wrap in a clean tea towel if you prefer a soft crust. Soda bread is best eaten while still warm, spread with salty butter and/or a dollop of your favourite jam. But if you have some left over the next day, it makes great toast.

This is the first time I've made soda bread and I noticed that the dough was super sticky! It stuck to the wooden bench, my hands, the spoon, pretty much everything it came into contact with. I had a mini strop and then added flour all over the place!

  It smells amazing while cooking. 

This is so super yummy I can't tell you!!
We're having home made jerusalem artichoke soup tonight for dinner with soda bread and lashings of butter.


  1. Oh, your bread looks divine, Laura! We love Hugh in this house as well. I don´t think we get him on TV (and we refuse to have cable) so our Hugh time is zero, but we watch the occasional video on YouTube.

    Gotta love the Hugh!!!!

  2. Mr Mel & I adore Hugh, such a character, we try and catch every show. Will be trying the soda bread this weekend with pumpkin soup :)

  3. Mmmmm, the smell of freshly made bread...

  4. Instead of buttermilk, I use a heafty dollop of white vingegar in the milk. Do that first before you start measuring the dry stuff, and it will be all lumpy by the time you need it. I use Rachel Allen's recipe: 3 2/3 cup flour, 1tsp sugar, 1tsp salt, 1tsp baking soda, then 425ml soured milk. I do pizza toppings sometimes for a change

  5. This looks amazing and doesn't look too tricky.
    I am totally in love with HFW and wish he was on TV a lot more. I am beginning to read some Aussie stuff too. Mathew Evans is great. So nice to have a southern hemisphere perspective.
    Have a great time reading your new book. I hope it involves you drinking some lovely cups of tea. I am sure he would approve.


I love it when you leave me comments, it lets me know there are folk out there reading my ramblings! Thank you, I appreciate them loads and loads
Laura x