Ingredients

How to make it

  • Sieve the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Scoop up handfuls and allow to drop back into the bowl to aerate the mixture. Add enough buttermilk to make a soft dough. Now work quickly as the buttermilk and soda are already reacting. Knead the dough lightly - too much handling will toughen it, while too little means it won't rise properly.
  • Form a round loaf about as thick as your fist. Place it on a lightly-floured baking sheet and cut a cross in the top with a floured knife. Put at once to bake near the top of a pre-heated oven, gas mark 8, 450°F, 230°C, for 30-45 minutes. When baked, the loaf will sound hollow when rapped on the bottom with your knuckles. Wrap immediately in a clean tea-towel to stop the crust hardening too much.
  • Wheaten bread or brown soda is made in exactly the same way but with wholemeal flour replacing all or some of the white flour; this mixture will probably require less buttermilk. Another variation is to add 1/2 cup of sultanas to the white bread - this loaf is known as Spotted Dick.

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