A variation on the traditional Irish recipe using malted-grains or Granary flour. Perfect with smoked salmon and scrambled eggs.
350g malted-grains, malted wheat-flour or Granary flour
100g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
30g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
300-400ml buttermilk or plain yoghurt,
a baking sheet, well floured
Makes 1 medium loaf
'Put the flours, salt and bicarbonate of soda in a large bowl. Rub in the diced butter with your fingertips until the mixture looks like fine crumbs. Make a well in the centre and, using a palette knife or wooden spoon, work in enough buttermilk or yoghurt to form a coarse, stiff dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead 2-3 times. Shape into a round loaf about 18cm across and 3cm thick. Put on the baking sheet and dust lightly with flour. Cut a fairly deep cross on the surface of the loaf, then bake in a preheated oven at 220C (425F) Gas 7 for 25-30 minutes until well risen, with a good, browned crust. The bread should sound hollow when tapped underneath. Cool on a wire rack. Eat within 24 hours, or split and toast. When thoroughly cooled, the soda bread can be wrapped then frozen for up to 1 month.
Fruit soda bread: Follow the main recipe, replacing the malted-grains flour with a stoneground wholemeal flour. Add 1 tablespoon demerara sugar and 100g mixed dried fruit to the rubbed-in mixture, then add the buttermilk and proceed with the recipe.
Spotted soda bread: Follow the recipe for fruit soda bread, using 100g coarsely chopped plain chocolate (choose one with at least 70 per cent or more cocoa solids) instead of the dried fruit.
This recipe can be found in 'Morning Bakes' by Linda Collister, published by Ryland Peters &Small, ISBN: 1900518996, 8.99.