Soda bread

Makes one large loaf
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Indy Lifestyle Online

This recipe comes from Tim Allen's lovely little book on bread entitled The Ballymaloe Bread Book. I ate lots of this over the course of the weekend, always slightly warm and with salty, buttercup- yellow Kerry butter, which is essential.

570g/1lb 3oz brown wholemeal flour
570g/1lb 3oz plain white flour
2tsp salt
2tsp bread soda
850ml/1 pints of buttermilk or 1 pints of whole milk and a tablespoon of lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 230C/450F/Gas8. Mix the flours, salt and bread soda together in a large bowl. Pour in most of the milk into the middle of the flour. Using your hands, mix the ingredients, drawing in the flour from the sides of the bowl, adding more milk if necessary, until the dough is softish, but not too wet.

Turn out the dough on to a well-floured surface, then wash and dry your hands. Tidy up the dough by lightly rolling it around with lightly floured hands, then pat gently into a round about 6cm (3in) high.

Place the dough on a lightly floured baking sheet, and make incisions in the shape of a cross. Bake in the fully heated oven for 15-20 minutes, then reduce the temperature to as low as it will go for a further 20-25 minutes.

Turn the bread upside-down on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes before the end of baking. When the bread is cooked, it will sound hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack and eat as soon as possible, with lashings of salty butter.

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