There are two things I’m dreaming of right now to keep me warm this chilly, snowy Friday afternoon.
First a steaming bowl of soup for lunch to keep those chills at bay and then some homemade bread. Baking bread always ensures a warm, cosy hug permeates my kitchen. This recipe for fruity soda bread is a teatime treat delicious with a steaming mug of tea. As much as I enjoy making yeasted bread, soda-bread is much more instantly gratifying, as you can have warm bread on the table within an hour or so and it’s perfect to whip up on the fly if you have friends over for brunch on the weekend.
Although Christmas and all its spicy fruity glamour is a distant memory, a simple fruit loaf with a sprinkling of spice is always spot on comfort food, whatever the season. For a gluten-free version just switch the flour for gluten-free flour and gluten-free oats. Traditionally soda bread calls for buttermilk or yogurt, which I don’t have in generally as I usually stick with dairy free products. I find the soya milk or Kara Coconut milk works a treat and ideal if you are dairy intolerant. I don’t give exact amounts of fruit and nuts this can be up to you and depend what you have in the cupboard. I made a really nice spelt loaf earlier in the week with walnuts and apricots (about 50gs of each).
FRUITY SODA BREAD
300g Wholemeal flour
150g fine milled Oats or oat flour (grind oats in a blender to a fine texture)
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt
Small handful of walnuts
Small handful of raisins
Small handful of prunes, chopped
Small handful of linseeds and sesame seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
350mls dairy free milk (or buttermilk)
Turn the oven on to preheat to 220 degrees.
Line your chosen baking tin (either a regular loaf tin or an 18cm round cake tin works well).
Mix the flour, baking powder, oats, cinnamon and salt in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the nuts and dried fruit. Next pour the milk into the dry ingredients, then mix together well, but don’t overwork. You should have a wet dough.
Transfer dough into the lined tin, it can be nice to sprinkle some extra oats or small seeds on top. Score the loaf along the length (or make a cross on a round loaf). This makes for a professional appearance and it also aids in the cooking process.
Place in the oven at 220 degrees, after 15mins reduce the oven to 200 degrees and cook for a further 30mins. The loaf is ready when it is nicely colored and risen and should sound hollow when you tap it underneath.