Luckily for me this week's theme was bread - more specifically quick bread (no yeast) for the signature bake. I wanted to move away from the technical challenges, so this suited me perfectly. As lovely as soda bread is, I think it needs added flavourings to give it a lift, I went for a Mediterranean theme, but of course like the bakers this week, you can go with anything you fancy.
Soda bread needs buttermilk to react with the Bicarb to give it a rise. If you can't find buttermilk, stir in 1 tbs of white wine vinegar for every 250ml of milk. Leave to stand for 5 minutes before using. Alternatively 200ml of regular plain yogurt to 50ml of milk will also work well.
Mediterranean Soda Bread
This will make enough for two 10cm round loaves, or one round loaf & 12 mini loaves.
10-20 large fresh basil leaves, finely chopped (I used 12 and got a very subtle flavour)
300g ground wholemeal flour
410g plain white flour
1.5tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt
175g Red Leicester cheese cut into small cubes (feta would also work well)
50g pitted green olives, sliced
50g sun blushed tomatoes, sliced
450ml buttermilk or buttermilk substitute.
Preheat your oven to 180C/Fan oven 170C/Gas 4.
If you are making mini loaves flour your tin and place a small rectangle of baking parchment into the bottom of each hole.
In a large bowl mix the basil and wholemeal flour, before adding sieved plain flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Mix together, before adding the other dry ingredients. Add the buttermilk and mix until you get a soft dough.
Shape into your desired loaves. If making round loves cut deep cuts into the top to form a cross.
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