Spelt & Oat Soda Bread
Soda bread is the ultimate 'Quick Bread' - simple, comforting, and a hugely adaptable type of bread which can be made with pretty much any kind of flour you have to hand! This version makes me feel nostalgic for the Wheaten Bread that our Northern Irish family friends used to bake when I was little.
I made this one with a combination of Spelt flour and oats, which gives a rich, nutty, sweet flavour, and a chewy texture. But you it works just as well with wholemeal plain flour, plain white flour, gluten free flour, buckwheat or even chappatti flour!
Cheats Buttermilk: Most quick bread recipes use buttermilk, because the acidity acts with the raising agent to give it some lift. However buttermilk isn't something I tend to keep in the fridge, and my usual un-planned, spontaneous style of baking works best with recipes where most of the ingredients can be substituted with things I already have (nipping out to the shops for specialist ingredients with 3 kids in tow is enough to put me right off the idea of baking at all!). Fortunately buttermilk is just soured milk, and can be made by squeezing the juice of half a fresh lemon or lime into 300ml of regular milk, and mixing until it thickens up and slightly curdles. This handily gives you exactly the right amount for this recipe!
Spelt & Oat Soda Bread Recipe
350 grams Spelt flour (or wholemeal, or any other type of plain flour)
125 grams porridge oats, plus extra for sprinkling
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons runny honey
320 ml buttermilk (see note above on buttermilk)
optional: milk or beaten egg, and oats for the topping
- Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees C and grease a baking tray (or line it with baking paper)
- Put all the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix with a fork.
- Mix the buttermilk and the honey together.
- Use a fork to mix the buttermilk and honey into the flour mixture until you have a sticky dough.
- There is no need to knead this bread, but dust your hands with flour and firmly press the dough together into a smooth ball.
- Place the dough onto your oven tray, and use a sharp knife to score a deep cross in the top of the loaf. (Alternatively, press it into a well-greased 2lb loaf tin)
- Finally brush the top with a bit of milk or beaten egg, and scatter over some extra oats.
- Bake the loaf for 35 minutes, or until it is dark golden, and sounds hollow if you turn it over and tap the bottom. Leave it to cool a bit on a wire rack before cutting into thick slices and slathering with butter!
Storage: This bread is best eaten fresh, so eat it on the day you make it, or it's fine toasted for a couple of days after that.