Not really one for making bread, I surprised myself with this one.
The story begins in Season, a restaurant run by Jamie’s friend Gilly in Finsbury Park. Complimentary soda bread is swiftly brought to our table, where the situation quickly escalates. Dark, rich and slightly bittersweet, this beautiful cakey bread is so divine we start squabbling over it and jabbing butter knives at each other. I stare solemnly at the plate of crumbs, hoping it will replenish itself. It doesn’t. Just as I start to debate how acceptable it would be to lick the crumbs off the plate, Gilly whips it away and replaces it with a bowl of big juicy olives.
“What on Earth was that bread and where did you get it from?” I ask, in an offhandish way, trying not to sound too desperate.
“Oh, we make it,” Gilly replies casually. “It’s treacle soda bread – good, right?”
“Right,” I say, still eyeing up the crumbs on the plate still in his hand.
So, for the next week, I dip and dive out of whole-food shops, delis and supermarkets in an attempt to find something remotely similar with zero success. There’s only one thing for it – I’m going to have to make it myself. Oh, the horror!
I don’t know why I’m so scared of making bread. It’s not like I haven’t done it before, it just always seems to take so long – I’m quite an inpatient person.
The good news is, though, soda bread doesn’t require yeast – so no waiting around for it to rise, bingo! It also doesn’t require kneading – bonus! All you have to do is mix the ingredients together, pour it onto a baking tray, bake it, and voila – bread has happened! It was so delicious, I ate half the loaf by myself before freezing it in slices and toasting it everyday for my lunches. I’ve already made this recipe twice and plan on making it every weekend for the rest of my days! We’ll see how long that lasts…
Treacle soda bread
Makes 1 loaf / Hands on time 10 mins / Total time 40 mins + cooling / V ❄
200g plain flour
250g plain wholemeal flour
55g rolled oats, extra for topping
1 tsp sea salt flakes
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
2 tbs treacle
1 tbs runny honey
350ml semi-skimmed milk
1 tbs lemon juice
TIP: Soda bread doesn’t store well, so consume on the day of baking or enjoy toasted the day after. I recommend slicing up the whole loaf and freezing it to extend its life considerably. See bottom of the page for freezing instructions.
TIP: If your’e not keen on the idea of treacle, simply leave it out altogether – although it is worth trying.
1. Preheat an oven to 220°C/200°C fan/425°F/gas mark 7 and line with a layer of baking paper. Dust with wholemeal flour and put to one side.
2. In a large mixing bowl, measure out the dry ingredients, mix together and make a well in the centre. Put to one side.
3. Measure out 350ml of semi-skimmed milk in a jug and add the honey and treacle straight into it. Beat with a hand whisk until the honey and treacle have been incorporated (it will clump together on the whisk and it will seem impossible but trust me, 2 minutes of elbow grease and it will have almost fully incorporated, persevere).
3. Quickly whisk the lemon juice into the milk and quickly pour into the flour well – doing this quickly prevents the milk from curdling. Using a metal butter knife, stir the mixture until just combined (you’ll want to work quickly, as soon as the wet mixture hits the dry the bicarbonate of soda will be activated).
4. Pour the mixture out into the centre of your lined baking tray – the mixture will be quite wet but don’t worry, this is normal. Wet a large knife and mark into quarters (wetting the knife prevents the dough sticking to it), cutting deeply through the loaf. Dust the top with a small handful of oats.
5. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Once baked, leave to cool on the baking tray for 20 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Once fully cooled, slice and enjoy with lashings of butter. Soda bread doesn’t last very long so I recommend freezing as soon as possible or consuming within 24 hours.
V – Vegetarian
❄– Once cooled, slice and freeze in a sealed freezer bag or wrap in a few layers of clingfilm. Freeze for up to 3 months.
If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.