Wholemeal Soda Bread

Recipe taken from The Essential Cook's Kitchen by Alison Walker (£20, Jacqui Small)

This quick-to-make Irish loaf uses bicarbonate of soda rather than yeast as its raising agent

  • 175g wholemeal flour
  • 175g plain white flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 25g lard
  • 1½ tsps bicarbonate of soda
  • 3 tsps cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 300ml buttermilk
  • Preheat the oven to 230°C/Fan 210°C/Gas 8. Sift the flours into a large bowl, tipping in any bran left in the sieve. Stir in the salt, then rub in the lard. Stir in the bicarbonate of soda, cream of tartar and sugar.
  • Make a well in the centre and pour in the buttermilk. Quickly mix together with a wooden spoon and tip onto a lightly floured work surface.
  • Shape very lightly into a ball and put on a lightly greased baking tray. Flatten slightly then, using the handle of a wooden spoon, mark a deep cross almost two-thirds of the way through. Bake for 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Best eaten on day of baking.
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