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 1 teaspoon of salt to the flour if you like). However, basic doesn’t mean disappointing. This is gorgeous served warm with red fruit jam or butter, or dunked into hearty soups and stews. It goes without saying that it’s one of my favourite and most tried-and-tested recipes.

Makes 1 small loaf for 38p. (This post is not sponsored; I provide links to the ingredients that I use so you can see how I calculate my recipe costs, and I may earn a small commission if you click the links and make a purchase.)

juice of ½ a lemon or 2 teaspoons bottled lemon juice, 5p (£1/500ml)

300ml semi-skimmed milk, 17p (55p/1l)

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

1½ level teaspoons bicarbonate of soda, 4p (£1.20/200g)



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 (a kind of shallow hole) 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.

From ‘A Girl Called Jack‘ by Jack Monroe. Photography by Susan Bell.

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