Sometimes life gets in the way. You want to make a slow proofed multi-grain loaf, but sometimes your yeast is expired, it’s -25 out, and relatives have driven you crazy all week. And dammit, sometimes you need to make a cheeseboard and have nothing to put said cheese on.
Sometimes, you need Soda Bread.
It may not be my first choice of breads, but it is quick, versatile, and it turns something like soup (or a cheeseboard) into a meal.
Like all quick breads, you have to work quick and don’t handle it too much or else your baking soda will fizzle itself out before you even get it to the oven.
I like to add something strong tasting to soda bread to combat that, well, baking soda flavour that can sometimes develop. A strong cheese, nuts and seeds, or onions can really step your soda bread up a notch. I used walnuts, half coarsely chopped, half pulverized to give good flavour and texture. Because soda bread can be sort of dry, I replaced half the water with apple sauce.
It’s slightly sweet, super nutty, and I’m eying up that sharp cheddar hours before the party.
Apple Walnut Soda Bread (adapted from River Cottage Handbook No.3 Bread Walnut and Honey Bread)
250g Flour plus extra for dusting (I used AP, use wholemeal if you have it)
2 tsp Baking Powder (I totally just realized I used soda. It works, but remember to always read your recipe/box)
111g Apple sauce
Preheat your oven to 400F
Crush half your walnuts coarsely and half to almost a powder.
Combine walnuts, with flour, salt, baking powder, and mix well.
Mix water and apple sauce together and pour into dry mixture; mix until well combined and knead briefly to a firm dough (you probably won’t use all the water)
Shape into a round, flatten to about 5cm high and cut a deep cross, almost through to the base.
Dust with flour and bake for 20-25 minutes until the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the base.
Cool on wire rack and devour with a warm bowl of soup or go for a ploughman with some pickles, a chunk of cheese, and an apple.