Cheese & Thyme Oat 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.
However, 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 heavenly. Take warm crisp bread, break it open and the smells get better. Slather it is butter, devour and at that very moment you know exactly why it is worth every effort.
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 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.
100g self-raising flour
100g wholemeal flour
1 tsp salt and a pinch of pepper
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
100g Cheddar cheese, grated
200ml 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 oats, salt and pepper, soda, thyme 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 deep cross into the top of the loaf, sprinkle on the reserved 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 slightly on wire rack for a little while before serving warm.