Our Irish friend of many years, Barney Murtagh, has given me some of her buttermilk plant.
I’ve made soda bread for years, with yogurt and a pinch of salt, but after watching Barney bake, and tasting how
flavourful her bread is, I’m going back to the original recipe and keeping my buttermilk plant happy so it grows and I can give some away too.
The buttermilk makes the bread so moist, and you can buy cartons of buttermilk in Asda and Waitrose .
I leave out the salt now, we have enough salt in our diet anyway, and it makes for a softer loaf I think.
Barney makes her bread on a flat baking sheet, and it cooks better like this than in a loaf tin. Easy to cut the loaf into 2 halves and make slices for toasting.
The only problem is everybody loves it and I’m baking for England (or Ireland) now!
Marvellous with marmalade, cracking with cheese, brilliant for beans on toast. No preservatives or additives, wholesome, good and delicious.
If anyone would like some buttermilk plant, give me a ring and I will put some in a jar when it has grown enough.
3 large cups of wholemeal flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Half a pint of buttermilk
Fan Oven at 150, Gas Mark 3
Baking sheet lined with baking parchment.
Put the flour in a bowl, add the bicarbonate and mix well.
Add the buttermilk and mix with a wooden spoon, until it is well mixed. If too dry, add a little water, if too wet, sprinkle a little more flour over.
Using your hands, knead into a big ball and place on the parchment on the baking tray.
Slightly flatten the bread out, and using a sharp knife make a cross on the top (this helps to cut it when baked).
Put into the middle of the oven for about an hour, pierce with a skewer to make sure the middle is cooked.
If you are not sure whether the bread is cooked inside turn the oven off and leave the bread in to finish off.
You just have to experiment a bit to see what works in your oven.
When you take it out of the oven wrap in a clean tea towel until cold.