I have never been much of a baker, but over the last few months I have watched many episodes of the Great British Bake show on Netflix and oh my!, what a delight! The best ever bake show on TV – EVER. I am totally inspired to bake crackers, breads, rolls and more. Paul Hollywood is the host of the show and he has a superb baking book out, which my husband picked up from our local library. Library I said? Yes, who knew that our local library had all the latest and greatest cookbooks! For the last 6 months or so we have been borrowing a few cookbooks each month and trying a lot of new recipes! What a great way to expand your knowledge on cooking and save money at the same time!
So I decided to start very simple, and make the easiest bread ever. Paul’s Soda Bread can be made while your soup is simmering on the stovetop. No proofing, no kneading, nada. Just mix the dry ingredients with the buttermilk and roll it out quickly in a ball and bake – voila!
The Verdict of Paul’s Soda Bread
This soda bread is really good for a fast and easy bread. The taste really reminded me of what my mother use to make as biscuit sized buns – I think she used milk with vinegar instead of buttermilk though. This Soda Bread is really dense and great with a slab of butter. If you are looking for a fluffy bread to soak up soup – you need to look further though. That being said, this bread would be perfect with a stew or chile if you wanted to scoop yummy morsels on your bread.
Next time, I would personally make this batch into 8 buns (instead of one big loaf) because I really love how the crust is nice and hard – I want more surface crust! This is a perfect bread to mix up in 10 minutes and bake for 30 minutes…leaving 5 minutes to cool before digging in to have with my hot bowl of veggie soup.
For this recipe, Paul recommends adding fun ingredients like cheddar cheese or olives. I think next time, I am going to take his suggestion and try a white goat cheddar with chives and make smaller rolls. Can’t wait to make it again!
BTW – The next morning I heated a few pieces and slathered butter and a nice strawberry jam for breakfast – it was a perfect breakfast with coffee!
- 4 cups plain white flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 2/3 cups buttermilk
- Heat oven to 390 F and line a baking tray with baking parchment or silicone paper.
- Put all ingredients into a large bowl and mix well, then stir in the buttermilk to form a sticky dough. Tip the dough onoto a lightly floured surface and shape it quickly into a ball. Flatten the ball a little with your hand.
- Put the dough on the baking tray. Mark it into quarters, cutting deeply through the bread, almost but not quite through the base. Dust with a little flour.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until the loaf is cooked through – it should be golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the base. Leave it to cool on a wire rack. Soda bread is best eaten within a day of baking. It freezes well.
I found another version of this recipe online where Paul recommends two types of flours, you can find it here.