My handwritten recipe attributes this version to (Australian) Better Homes and Gardens, June 1991 - so it's been My Recipe for soda bread for almost twenty years; and never superseded in that time. I'm giving you gold...
IRISH OATMEAL SODA BREAD
Measurements use Australian standard cups and spoons. I'm sure you can find a website to translate if you need to...
- 250g (2 cups) plain flour
- 200g (1 1/2 cups) wholemeal flour
- 3 tablespoons quick rolled oats
- 1 tsp salt (don't leave this out)
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp bicarb soda
- 60g cold butter, cut into chunks
- 450ml buttermilk
- 1 small egg
- Oven to 200degC
- Combine flours and oats in a food processor, mix until finely ground.
- Add salt, baking powder and bicarb, process to mix.
- Add butter and process until butter is thoroughly blended
- Transfer mixture to a bowl, make a well in the centre.
- Beat buttermilk and egg together, pour into well, mix until dry and spongy; if too slack, bread will be heavy.
- Tip onto a floured board and knead for a few minutes until smooth. Just lightly, just enough - don't overhandle it. I probably do no more than a minute. Shape into two rounds (or one large round) about 5cm thick.
- Place on baking trays that are either covered in baking paper or lightly floured.
- Cut a cross in the bread that goes down the to base - four quarters if two small rounds, two crosses/eighths if one large round. This allows the bread to rise evenly and gives it its characteristic look.
- If you want to glaze it, beat an egg yolk with 2 tsp water, glaze and scatter 1 1/2 tablespoons of quick rolled oats on top. Me, I just don't bother.
- Bake 35-40 min or until bread is golden and sounds hollow when tapped on the base. Cool on rack, but serve warm with butter. It's good with home made jam or marmalade, or with a nice bitey cheddar; I'm happy as anything to have simple soda bread with butter. It can be microwaved to reheat, but you might lose a little of its crustiness. It's a great accompaniment for soup -eg pumpkin soup.
- If you don't have a food processor, rub in the butter by hand and use oatmeal.
- It only keeps a day or two, so eat it fresh or freeze it. When I was a child and bakers didn't bake seven days a week, or on public holidays, this is what my mother would make to tide us over.
I think one of the secrets of this recipe is the egg - it does add to the flavour. And, as noted, don't leave out the salt. I don't madly salt food, but the salt in this is necessary (left it out once and the taste wasn't right).
It's been a while since I blogged here - golly gee work has been busy this year!