Thursday, 26 March 2009

Cheddar Cheese Soda Bread

Is there anything more simple and basic than taking some flour, water and yeast, pounding them together for a few minutes then whacking in the oven? Bread making has lost its way in the standard home over the years for the simple reason that ready made bread in all forms can be purchased reasonably cheap.

So why bother going through the whole bread making process when it is so readily available? The end result is usually because there is nothing like home baked bread. If you have ever wandered into a baker's shop with bread in the oven you will know that the smell alone is of a heavenly nature. Take warm crisp bread, break it open and the smells get better. Slather it is butter and devour and at that very moment you know exactly why it is worth every effort.

I also enjoy the process of kneading and forming, watching dough rise in a warm cupboard before being baked to a golden crust. Getting the kids involved makes it even better and baking bread can be the basis of making your very own little confident foodie. Disasters will happen but who cares as long as you have fun and enjoy the fruits of your labour?

This bread is soda bread, an Irish recipe which uses soda rather than yeast as the rising agent. This means you don't need to wait for a couple of hours for the rising process - happy days - and the resulting loaf is surprisingly light. It can be on the table within an hour of first making and the warm bread is amazing smeared with a good butter and dunked into soups. So get them mixing bowls out, chuck in the basic ingredients and get you and your little one's hands 'squidging' for a bit of home baking.

Cheddar Cheese Soda Bread

125g plain flour
125g wholemeal flour
1 tbs demerera or brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
100g Cheddar cheese, grated
250ml plain yoghurt

1 - Pre-heat the oven to 220C/GM7.
2 - Sift the flours into a large mixing bowl, reserving the sieved whole grains. Stir in the sugar, salt, soda and cheese.
3 - Pour in the yoghurt and bring together with a wooden spoon. Then lightly knead for a minute or two. You are looking for a reasonably firm dough but not too dry. If it seems that way, add more yoghurt and knead.
4 - Shape the dough into a rough ball and place it onto a floured baking sheet. Cut a cross into the top of the loaf, sprinkle on the whole-wheat then bake in the oven for about 10 minutes. Turn the oven down to 200C/GM6 and cook for another 20 minutes until golden brown.
5 - Cool on wire rack for a little while before serving.

10 comments:

Helen said...

Oh I don't need any encouragement to make bread David - I need someone to stop me! I am getting porky! That said, I adore it - the whole process just like you do. Although, I do find my bread comes out a little wet now and again, and a bit too cooked onthe outside, even if I follow a recipe. Is it my oven do you think?

David Hall said...

Helen - it could be your oven but more than likely that you aren't kneading it enough. 10-15 minutes of kneading will make sure the dough gets enough air in for a lighter loaf. Any less and it will become dense and as you say, wet. I use the 'spring' test - put your hand into the dough and if it springs back immediately it is ready to prove.

Antonia said...

I have to say that I have never been a very successful bread baker. I'm determined to succeed though and must give it another go. My problem is with yeast - I just struggle to get my dough to rise properly - so perhaps I'll try soda bread instead!

Holler said...

Good tip David. I haven't gone much further than my no knead bread rolls recently, but I will work my way up and I will remember about the kneading.

Sara said...

I love making bread, in fact I've got two different doughs going right now! This bread sounds so good, I've never made soda bread before.

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Peter M said...

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Email me your full name, address, tel.# so that I can send it by post.

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The Ample Cook said...

David, I've got into amking soda bread in s big way - it's so easy isn't it? I made some with cheese and onion and I very nearly ate the whole lot! Sweet ones with fruit are good too.

♥Rosie♥ said...

This is beautiful bread David. I just adore making bread and the smell as it bakes is something I wish I could bottle up and sell - I'd make a fortune lol I fully agree there is nothing like homemade bread!

Soda bread is such a good little taster for anyone starting out in bread making and I love the idea of the added cheese too.

Rosie x

VŽcool said...

wow...very nice!