This is a recipe I came across watching River Cottage Every Day’s ‘Bread’ episode with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. The recipe was not one of Hugh’s own but of a baker in Plymouth who used to work with an Irish chef who liked nothing better than to travel back to Dublin, get a fresh soda bread, a pint of Guinness, an apple and some cheese, and he’d be set for the day. So, the baker on the episode thought, why not combine the four into one.
Soda bread has to be one of the easiest types of bread to make and because it uses baking soda instead of yeast as a raising agent it cooks super quick and there’s no waiting around, with your dough in a warm spot, for it to double in size. And, with it being Saint Patrick’s Day and all, I thought it an opportune time to give this concept a burl with a locally crafted dry stout, Bacchus Brewing Co.’s My Goodness Stout.
What you need:
- 4 cups plain flour
- 2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 apple, peeled, cored and cut into 1-2cm chunks
- 1/3 cup sunflower oil
- 1 cup dry Irish stout
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 75g grated cheddar
What to do:
1. Preheat oven to 220 degrees Celsius. Line a baking sheet with baking paper.
2. Sift flour, add salt, baking soda, apple and 2/3 of the grated cheddar.
3. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients. Combine sunflower oil, stout and buttermilk and pour into dry ingredients. Mix lightly with your hands (the less time mixing the dough the better – your bread will be lighter and fluffier for it) until a soft dough forms.
4. Place dough on a floured surface and shape into a round by patting it lightly – do not knead it. Transfer to your prepared baking sheet and top with remaining cheese.
5. Place in oven and bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy fresh from the oven, spread with a little butter, and washed down with the remaining stout.
P.S. Apart from being delicious it also makes the house smell amazing.