This is based on Dan Lepard’s Waterford soda bread recipe from his book “The Handmade Loaf”. In turn I believe the provenance of this is from a recipe created by Michael Power a baker from County Wexford. The really nice thing about this recipe is that it manages to produce a moist loaf that keeps well until the next day. Usually, to be at its best, soda bread has to be eaten warm pretty much straight out of the oven or within hours at most.
I particularly like the flavour of spelt flour so I use all stoneground spelt flour or sometimes 50/50 spelt flour and wholemeal flour.
I also like the idea of a square loaf, I guess you could use a standard circular cake tin but squares are easy to slice and look interesting on the breadboard.
Spelt Soda Bread Recipe
300g Bacheldre Watermill Organic Stoneground Spelt
200g semi-skimmed milk
50g fine oatmeal (I blitzed some porridge oats in the food processor until fine)
30g oatbran or porridge oats (oatbran produces a nice crunchy finish but oats are ok too)
20g salted butter
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Butter a 7″ square loose bottomed pan, flour the pan with spelt flour and sprinkle a layer of oatbran or oats on the base. Pre-heat oven to 210°C.
Mix oatmeal and spelt together and rub in the butter. Mix in the bicarb., sugar and salt. Stir the milk and buttermilk together in a jug and zap in the microwave for 30 seconds until lukewarm. Stir the liquid quickly but thoroughly into the dry ingredients. Pour into the prepared tin and gently flatten the top and sprinkle more oatbran (or oats) over the top. Cover with foil and put into the oven for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for a futher 25 minutes uncovered. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack after a minute or two.
Don’t expect the loaf to rise like conventional yeasted bread, it has a taste and texture somewhere between a bread and a cake but is equally at home with butter and jam or a spicy soup.