“That, my dear, sounds like rather a lot work for a loaf of bread” said Snotty Nosed Prince. But Mouse waived his concerns aside “No, honestly, it isn’t that bad. I put the dough on before the movie starts and I continue in the breaks. I don’t have to watch the dough, or the adverts for that matter. Suits me well.”
“But you can’t quickly whip up a loaf should you get unexpected guests, can you?” Snotty Nosed Prince pointed to a loaf that was sitting in the middle of the table. “Look, my Soda bread is ready to be consumed in 40 minutes and – even better – it doesn’t have yeast in it.”
Mouse was interested as she knows quite a few people try to avoid yeasts and the loaf looked really hearty. She came a little closer and knocked on it. It sounded hollow under the crust.
“So how do you make it?”
“It’s an old Irish recipe from my wet nurse” Snotty Nosed Prince said proudly. “The only draw back is you have to eat it on the day. But honestly, who could resist!”
“I see you use buttermilk in it” Mouse said when she glanced at the recipe. “What is that supposed to do?”
“That is an additional leavening agent. Yes, I know it is not one of the basic foods you have sitting in your fridge. If you don’t have any at hand, use normal milk and put lemon juice or vinegar in it. I personally prefer lemon juice.”
1 cup plain white flour, 2 cups wholemeal flour, plus a little extra to sprinkle, 1 tsp baking soda, ½ tsp salt, 300 ml buttermilk or alternatively normal milk with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice added.
Preheat the oven to 200 0C.
Put white and wholemeal flours, baking soda and salt into a bowl and mix well with a fork.
Make a well in the centre and pour the liquid in. Stir the flour into the liquid using your index finger to make it a soft dough. Then move it to a lightly floured work surface and knead quickly and lightly to a dough that holds together. Make sure you don’t overwork the dough, otherwise the bread gets too hard.
Form a ball and place on a greased baking sheet. Flatten it ever so slightly. Cut a deep cross in the top of the loaf (about half way). Sprinkle a little extra wholemeal flour over the top.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until well risen and browned. Test by tapping on the base, if it sounds hollow, it is done. If it sounds dull and heavy, bake for a further 3–5 minutes and then test it again.
Cool on a wire rack and eat the same day.
This bread goes very well with soups, for example a creamy pumkin or carrot soup. It is also nice buttered and with honey. If you have some left over, you can toast it the next day.
“Oh yes, the bread was easy to make,” said Mouse exhausted. “But it took ages to get a reasonable picture with the prince and his loaf. He just didn’t want to smile.”