Soda Bread, 7p [VG/V/DF]

This is an ideal bread recipe for newcomers, no fancy equipment needed and the bare bones of a recipe. I tricked Mrs J into making this last week; she who famously doesn’t cook but hovers helpfully around the washing up, trying not to gwt roped in with my wily ways. “Can I do anything?” she asked. “Yes darling, could you just pass me that bowl… pop 400g of flour in it for me… and 300ml milk, I’ll be over in a sec, would you just shake some lemon juice in and… here, a teaspoon of this. Scrape it into this tin… and just pop it in the oven for me?” By the time she realised what I was up to, stealthily coaxing her through the simplest of bread recipes, she was too proud of herself to be cross with my cunning linguistic charms. 

It turned out beautifully – and is always the first thing I teach even the most reluctant pupil to cook. You have a natural, free breadmaker in your palms and your knuckles – and this easy recipe with no proving or rising time is a great place to start. A lot of soda bread recipes use wholemeal flour, salt and buttermilk or yoghurt – but true to my usual style, I’ve pared it back to the basics (although you can add a pinch of salt to the flour if you like). This is gorgeous served warm with red fruit jam or butter, or dunked into hearty soups and stews. 

 Makes 1 small loaf that will serve 6

Juice of ½ a lemon or 2 teaspoons bottled lemon juice, 7p (60p/250ml, KTC lemon juice at Asda)

300ml milk, 18p (59p/1l long life unsweetened soya drink, Smart Price at Asda)

400g self-raising flour plus extra to shape the dough and dust the loaf, 12p (45p/1.5kg, Smart Price at Asda)

1½ level teaspoons bicarbonate of soda, 2p (69p/200g, Asda)

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. 

Squeeze the lemon juice into the milk. 

Stand to one side for about 5 minutes to allow the liquid to curdle and separate. 

Meanwhile, weigh the flour into a bowl, add the bicarbonate of soda and mix through. 

Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in most of the milk-and-lemon mixture. Mix well with a wooden spoon to form a sticky dough. Use your judgement – if it looks too dry, add the remaining liquid. 

Tip the dough on to a floured work surface and pat into a round shape, kneading ever so lightly. The trick to amazingly light soda bread is not to fiddle with it too much. Pop the shaped dough into a 1lb loaf tin (approximately 17 x 7 x 6cm), score a line on top of the dough down the middle about 1cm deep with a sharp knife and dust with a little extra flour. 

Place in the preheated oven for 40 minutes. Once baked through, the loaf should sound hollow on the bottom when tapped and feel ridiculously light. Remove the tin from the oven, tip out the soda bread whilst hot and leave to cool on a wire rack. Break into chunks and serve warm with butter, or allow to cool completely then wrap in cling film to keep fresh.

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  1. This looks delish. I now have to be gluten free. Would it work with gluten free flour or would I have to add anything else to it?

    • I bought the first cookbook in January with xmas vouchers…and yes it does work with gluten free flour !

      I used Aldi’s gf self raising and made sure the dough was properly sticky. I’m by no means an expert on gf breadmaking but know you have to keep things on the moist side or it will turn out more crumbly. It turned out pretty darn good. I ate a few slices when it was warm, a couple when it cooled (just to be sure), didn’t let anyone else have any, then sliced and froze the rest. Makes yummy toast from frozen. I didn’t feel the recipe needed changing and of course it’s great value for gf bread. Will be making this again soon for sure

  2. Bread hard to find in Scotland today,because of the snow .
    I have all the ingredients definitely going to make some today.

  3. Maybe a ridiculous question but can you use out of date sour milk to make this ? I’m sure when I was little we used to make scones with off milk . Obviously not grim well out of date milk but just turning, and would that mean you dont need the lemon juice?

  4. This is one of the first recipes I made from agcj. So satisfying. And I made it last weekend when we ran out of bread and could not get to the shop in the bad weather.
    This time I used almond milk and it worked perfectly.

  5. Great recipe- similar to one I use (mine’s made with buttermilk). But I can’t help wondering: am I the only person with a dirty mind who reads your recipes??!

      • Wonderful! I’m so glad to hear that, because I laughed out loud when I first read it. Two great recipes in one! 😀

    • I LOVE this recipe. I teach cooking skills to adults with disabilities and I have used this recipe in quite a few of my sessions and it has always been successful. Thank you Jack 🙂

  6. I made this this week from the book. There assaulted about it going stale quickly, but pop a marshmallow in the bag/box you’re keeping it in and it stays fresh for a week

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