I spent lot of time, effort, flour and washing up liquid making bread. And you will say "oh that's OK because there's nothing like fresh baked homemade bread". And there's nothing like it until it gets cold.
I don't know if it's because there's no preservatives or because I need to practice on my technique but after a few hours the bread it's like a brick and the day after it's not good even for toast! So all the mixing, kneading and proving just for a few hours of pleasure? C'mon, go to the shop, they have nice loaves ready to eat!
But then there's the soda bread, no kneading or proofing needed, just mix all the ingredients and bake it! That's it!!
Soda bread is delicious, really crusty, rustic and beautiful! It wont last longer than the other breads either but you have a fresh loaf in less than one hour!
450g plain flour
1 level tsp caster sugar
1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt
350ml buttermilk or sour milk
Preheat the oven to 230°C.
Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour in the buttermilk . Using one hand with your fingers outstretched like a claw, bring the flour and liquid together. Do not knead the mixture or it will become heavy. The dough should be fairly soft, but not too wet and sticky.
When it comes together, turn onto a floured work surface and bring together a little more. Pat the dough into a round about 4cm deep and cut a deep cross in it.
Place on a baking tray and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, then turn down the heat to 200°C and cook for 30 minutes more. When cooked, the loaf will sound slightly hollow when tapped on the base and be golden in colour. I use turn it upside down for the last 5 minutes of cooking. Allow to cool on a wire rack.