- Makes 1 medium loaf
- Cooking time
- 40 mins
- Preparation time
- 15 mins
- 350g (11oz) plain flour, plus extra for sprinkling
- 150g (5oz) wholemeal flour
- 1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 30g (1oz) butter, chilled and chopped
- 4 rashers cooked streaky bacon, chopped
- 400ml (12½ fl oz) buttermilk (or milk soured with a squeeze of lemon juice), plus extra if needed
- Heat the oven to 200°C (gas mark 6). Sprinkle a baking tray with a little flour. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and 1tsp salt into a bowl. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until it looks like coarse breadcrumbs, stir in the bacon, then make a well in the centre.
- Pour the buttermilk into the well. Using a large metal spoon (or your hand), stir in large strokes until a dough forms. It should be soft, but not too wet or sticky. If it's too wet, add extra flour (1tbsp at a time) and mix.
- Gather into a rough ball, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface and gently shape into a round loaf of about 8cm (3in) deep (don't play with the dough too much - a light touch is needed.) The dough should feel slightly damp. Place the loaf on the baking tray, sprinkle with a little extra flour and slash a cross in the top with a sharp knife.
- Bake for about 40 mins or until the loaf is risen and golden, and sounds hollow when tapped on the base. Serve warm or cold.
Soda bread doesn't like to be mixed too much, so use a flat-bladed knife or a large metal spoon for mixing. Bake it as soon as you can after combining the ingredients. If you want to prepare ahead, rub the butter and dry ingredients together, but don't add the liquids until just before shaping and baking.