It’s truly amazing to me that even at my age I am still learning new things about myself…daily. Life is a little stressful right now. I am taking a crazy intense course for my job while trying to stay on top of normal life things.
Let me come clean. I am not the most organised and disciplined person in the world. My husband is and he saves me from myself every day. As for me…I like to procrastinate, take it slow, do anything but the work or, in this case, study, that is in front of me. Then I panic and sometimes cry, desperate to meet the deadline. I hate deadlines and I need them to get moving. This paradox is the essence of Julia.
This bread was made on a day when panic was setting in. There were just too many assignments and not enough time. I had to temporarily walk away from my laptop and do something with my hands.
So I made this bread because nothing calms me more than the simple task of mixing flour, water and an egg, kneading it briefly- sticky hands, flour flying through the air-and then smelling the most tantalising aroma of freshly baked bread wafting though the house. Immediately I feel that all is right in the world, all is right with me and when kids get back from school they can snack on a slice of this sweetly smelling bread. Fast-forward 10-15 years from now and they will remember this, “Mum never panicked about anything. Mum was a Supermum, she baked bread and remained calm no matter what.” A girl can dream, right?
Now let’s talk about this bread. Traditionally Irish soda bread is made with wholewheat flour, and is soft and crumbly in texture as opposed to its brother yeasted bread, which is light and airy. It is world’s easiest loaf-just mix all ingredients, form a rough loaf, after all it is half of the appeal, pop in the oven and 40 min later enjoy with butter and honey.
I was out of wholewheat flour so I decided to use a combination of buckwheat flour and regular white flour. The loaf was somewhat experimental but to my relief, it turned out brilliantly. The addition of dark honey instead of sugar scents the entire loaf, which in combination with the smell of buckwheat makes it irresistible. I had to take pauses while photographing it just to take the aroma in! This soda bread is equally tasty with butter and jam as it is spread with a little bit of soft goat cheese or cream cheese, but my son’s favourite is peanut butter and blackcurrant jam!
- 2½ cups-flour
- 1⅔ cups-buckwheat flour
- 1½ cup-buttermilk
- 1½ tsp baking soda
- 1 egg, large
- 1 tsp good quality dark honey
- ¼ tsp salt
- sea salt to sprinkle on top
- Preheat the oven to 375 F/190°C.
- Combine both flours, baking soda, salt in a mixing bowl.
- In a small bowl whisk buttermilk with the egg and honey.
- Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, and then pour in the wet mixture. Start mixing with a wooden spoon until comes together. Alternatively you can mix it in a stand mixer.
- Turn out the dough on a flour surface and gently knead until smooth. It shouldn;t take longer than 20-30 seconds. Add a little extra flour if you find the dough is too wet and sticky or a bit more buttermilk if it's too dry.
- Shape into a ball and put on a floured baking sheet. Sprinkle with more flour and score a cross on it and top with flaky sea salt such as Maldon or your favourite.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes until the bread sounds hollow if you tap on it.