Onion Cheddar Soda Bread

This bread tastes amazing and can be made under one hour.

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So I found out at 6pm today that I had agreed to go to a potluck that night. Which started at 7.30pm. I needed something that I could churn out in an hour with ingredients I had around the house and I immediately went: Soda Bread.

Soda bread is a quickbread, and uses baking soda as a raising agent instead of yeast. The baking soda reacts with the acidity of the buttermilk to produce bubbles, which gives the rise.

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The lovely ‘X’ pattern is supposed to let the devil out of the bread. So I did it. Because nobody wants the devil in their bread. (But really it’s just to help the bread cook evenly).

The smell of this bread was a-ma-zing. I had to carry this bread through the 30 mins walk from my house to the place of the potluck and every single passer-by did a double take when I passed by them. I basically had bread perfume. My friend thought it smelled a lot like chicken pie while I thought it smelled like French onion soup.

Anyway this bread smells and tastes delicious. It had a soft and tender crumb with a crunchy crust. Best of all, from start to finish it only takes 1 hour, so I really encourage you to try it!

I got this recipe from Paul Hollywood.

Ingredients

  • 250g plain flour
  • 250g plain wholemeal flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda/bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 400ml buttermilk
  • Two onions, finely diced (raw)
  • 200g cheese (I used cheddar)
  • About 1 tbsp dried thyme (optional)
  • About 1 tbsp dried rosemary (optional)

Method

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the two flours, baking soda, salt, onion, cheese, and dried herbs.
  2. Make a well in the center and add half the buttermilk. Use a wooden spoon to mix the dry ingredients into the buttermilk. Slowly add the rest of the buttermilk and mix until you get a sticky dough which can hold together. You might not need all the buttermilk.
  3. Transfer to a well-floured work surface and form into a ball. DO NOT KNEAD or your bread will taste tough and not tender.
  4. Transfer onto a lined baking sheet and dust a layer of flour on top. Sprinkle some dried thyme/rosemary on top if you want as well.
  5. Using a bench scraper (or a serrated knife), score the dough with a deep cross, cutting all the way down to the baking sheet.
  6. Sprinkle the top of the bread with a bit of flour and bake at 200°C for 30 mins, or until golden brown.
  7. Let cool on a wire rack, and try to eat on the day itself.

Notes

  • I didn’t have any buttermilk so I substituted using a mixture of 3/4 natural yoghurt and 1/4 water. You get the same result, don’t worry (I have tried this recipe using buttermilk before).
  • If you want to go to the other end of the bread-time spectrum, check out my sourdoughs, which usually take more than half a day to make but yields an intensely bready flavour.
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