Irish soda bread – the quick and easy bread you can make and eat in a matter of an hour. Which is exactly what I do on weekend mornings when I want freshly baked bread to go with my morning coffee!
My version has a spoonful of treacle to give it a malty flavour, alhtough it’s still quite a plain bread. You can zhush it up into a sweeter, more fancy bread by adding dried fruit – I like adding cranberries or sour cherries.
And baking soda bread in individual flowerpots is fantastic for making great little individual loaves. I love serving winter warming stews and casseroles with baby flowerpot loaves. Very rustic!
Of course, if you don’t have (clean) flowerpots on hand, you could just as easily make these loaves in muffins molds or even as free form loaves.
Here is the recipe for treacle flowerpot loaves and the fruity flowerpot variation.
340g plain flour
½ tsp salt
½ -1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tbls black treacle
For fruity flowerpots, add a couple of good handfuls or to taste, of dried fruit. For my bake, I made half plain loaves, half fruity.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Lightly spray terracotta flower pots with cooking spray. Put a little flour into each pot, shaking the pot to make sure the flour coats the inside of the pot. Shake out any excess. You don’t need to be too precise – the main thing is to roughly coat the flower pot to allow easy removal of the loaf once baked.
Place flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl and stir. Add the treacle to the buttermilk, stirring it well.
Make a well in the centre of the mixture, and pour in the buttermilk/treacle mixture, mixing quickly to form a soft dough. (Depending upon the absorbency of the flour, you may need to add a little milk if the dough seems too stiff but it should not be too wet or sticky.) Add the dried fruit if using.
Mix well, then turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead very briefly. You can even skip the kneading and pile the mix straight into the pots.
Put handfuls of the dough into the pots, filing to about 3/4 full, to allow for the bread to rise. Place the pots on a baking sheet.
Bake for about 20 minutes or until the loaves are risen and deep brown. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the flowerpots. The way to do this is to gently run a knife round the edge of the bread in the pot to loosen it, then turn out.
Serve with lashings of butter and nice jam. Here’s the link to my cumquat jam and other preserves, that I love with soda bread.