Treacle soda bread

Treacle soda bread

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. 


Method
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.

Treacle soda bread

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.



Tips & Tricks: #1 Freezing Fresh Bread

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I love fresh bread because I’m human and all humans love bread, if you don’t then you’re obviously some sort of weird duck. Ducks love bread though right?… Whatever.
Anyway, I love fresh bread but tend to buy it, eat one glorious slice of it and approximately five minutes later, it’s covered in green powdery mould. Eww.
So to avoid this, I’ve started buying fresh loaves, cutting them into slices on the day of purchase and then freezing them. If you do this they can last months (well not in our house because we eat it all). It’s lovely to wake up and know you can have freshly toasted bread with your eggs for breakfast or a defrosted piece of soughdough with soup for lunch. So here’s how you do it…

1. Quick: It’s very important to cut up your loaf and freeze it as soon as possible, don’t wait for it to go stale. The fresher the bread the fresher it will freeze. Once defrosted or toasted, it will taste the same as the day you bought it, marvellous.
2. Wrap: Slice your loaf as evenly as you can and either wrap several slices in a few layers of cling film or pop them into airtight freezer bags and freeze. You can wrap a whole loaf up together if you like but I find it easier to store them around other frozen items if you do it in batches.
3. Eat: Once frozen simply pull the slices apart and pop straight in the toaster for toast. We don’t have a ‘from frozen’ button on our toaster, so I just toast it how I would normally toast a piece of bread. I don’t even extend the time but if you think it needs a bit longer, then an extra 30 seconds should do it.
To defrost the bread for sandwiches, simply remove the slices you want from the freezer but keep them wrapped in cling film. If you’ve taken a slice from a big batch then wrap it up in a fresh piece of clingfilm. I tend to do this the night before so it’s ready for me in the morning. Defrosting on the day only takes a few hours at room temperature.
4. What else can I freeze? I freeze all my bread including pitta bread, rolls, wraps, tortillas and even hot crossed buns. Just make sure you wrap them correctly to prevent any air getting to them and use within 3 – 4 months.
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Savoury bread & butter pudding

Savoury Bread & Butter Pudding
Savoury Bread & Butter Pudding
Savoury Bread & Butter Pudding

‘Oh and I think your blog is so great, all your food looks soooo delicious and you’re just soooooo funny…’ Oh stop it I blush,  I’m really not that funny, I smile goofily at my computer screen and wave my hand at it as if to say ‘get outta here’.
I read on…
‘The majority of people food blogging aren’t very interesting so it’s nice to stumble across someone who doesn’t make me want to skip straight to the recipe, especially the blogs you do with your son…”
Oh stop it, I think to myself again…. Wait, what did she say? Son? What son?… I haven’t got a son. The only person that really features on my blog other than me is NOOOOOOO!
SHE THINKS JAMIE IS MY SON!!!
Am I that old and shrivelled she’s mistaken me for my boyfriend’s mother?! Well this is a new low, perhaps I need to sit down, NO! That’s what old people do. Maybe he just looks freakishly young?  I’m only 32 for god sake, I would’ve had to have had him when I was six, surely that isn’t even possible. Perhaps for Christmas I should ask for a giant vat of Olay Regenerist just in case. I wonder if it’s still made with babies umbilical cords or if that was just a 90’s rumour. Not sure I fancy putting umbilical cord cream on my face but as I’m ageing at an alarming rate it’s my only hope. Oh well, at least she thought I was funny.
Anyway, speaking of mum’s, this recipe is inspired by a dish my very own mother Lizzie used to make me. Her recipe is long-lost of course (she manages to lose all of her beloved recipes) so had a go at making it from memory. It’s essentially made up of my two favourite things in life, bread and cheese, so go grab your big pants, it’s time to get your carb on.


Savoury bread & butter pudding
Serves 4-6 / Hands on time 40 mins / Total time 1 hour 10 mins /
V
2 red onions, sliced
1 knob of butter
1 garlic clove
400g white sourdough loaf
100g medium vegetarian cheddar cheese, grated (half for the wet mixture and half for the topping)
100g cheese of your choice grated or crumbled for the filling – I used a combination of Emmental and cheddar but you can use any cheese you can either grate or crumble
Handful fresh thyme sprigs
Salt & pepper
5 eggs
500-700ml semi-skimmed milk


Method
1. Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/gas mark 6. Roughly slice the onions and put them in a large saucepan or pot with a knob of butter and the crushed garlic clove. Sweat on a low heat for around 10-15 minutes until soft.
2. Meanwhile, butter a 2 litre oven dish and begin slicing the sourdough. Once sliced, pick up the slices as a loaf and put straight into the oven dish. Pull the slices apart to fill the dish creating a zig zag effect.
3. Firstly, grate the 100g of cheddar for the wet mixture/topping and put to one side. Then grate/crumble your chosen cheese for the filling and put to one side.
4. Once the onions are soft, take off the heat and begin to spoon evenly between the bread layers followed by cheese you you’ve chosen for your filling. Stuff several thyme sprigs throughout the pudding and but to one side.
5. In a separate bowl beat the eggs, milk and half the remaining grated cheddar together with a whisk and season well with salt and pepper. Pour carefully over the pudding making sure you manage to soak all of the bread. Top with the rest of the grated cheddar and season well with salt and pepper. Bake in the oven on the middle shelf for 30 minutes.
6. Remove from the oven and discard the charred thyme sprigs and serve immediately with a simple green salad.


Savoury Bread & Butter Pudding
Savoury Bread & Butter Pudding

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.


V– Vegetarian


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