A quick and delicious weeknight bread. Flavoured with sharp mature cheddar, fresh rosemary and red onion; a perfect accompaniment to hearty stews and warming soups.
There’s nothing quite like coming home on a dark chilly night to a kitchen filled with the smell of freshly baked bread. Sitting down, taking off heavy winter coats, or soggy rain clothes, and settling in for the evening. Tucking into a hearty bowl of rich, savoury stew, or a soothing bowl of warming soup. Warming your cold face and hands around the steaming bowl, mopping up the last dregs with a wedge of still warm bread, fresh from the oven. Comfort food for the soul.
Soda bread, one of my favourite breads, is the perfect for weekday winter nights.
It’s fast, doesn’t need proving, and will come together happily even in the chilliest of kitchens.
Today is defiantly one of those dark wintery days. Its just started snowing here, with fat wet flakes swirling through the air.
This bread is the perfect antidote. A big warming cuddle of a loaf. Its a bread that will never let you down. No yeast to defy you. No kneading to be endured when you’re tired and just want to get to sofa as quickly as possible.
Just a little chopping, a little mixing and its into the oven.
This loaf features some of my favourite flavours; cheddar, red onion, rosemary. The sharp, mature cheddar is a perfect taste for winter. Strong and rich, it gives the bread a wonderful taste, and a delicious texture.
The crust on a soda bread is delicious, thick and hearty. A little cheese sprinkled on top bubbles up golden. Melted butter is brushed over the top as it comes out of the oven. Inside the bread is soft and inviting. Eat it when its still warm and you’ll find little pockets of cheese still gooey inside.
Its bread that calls out to be torn apart by hungry hands.
– when you slash the cross, try and cut almost all the way through the dough, almost separating your bread into 4 separate loaves. They’ll come back together as they bake and make sure the bread is baked nice and evenly right through.
– If you don’t have fresh rosemary to hand, substitute a teaspoon of dried rosemary.
Cheddar, Red Onion and Rosemary Soda Bread
(makes 1 loaf, serves 4 – 6)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small red onion, finely diced
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary (approximately 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary)
170g wholewheat seeded bread flour
170g plain white flour
1 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
115g strong mature cheddar, grated
1 teaspoon salt
10g butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 200 C / 180 C fan / 390 F.
Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.
In a frying pan, heat the olive oil. Gently fry your red onion for about 5 minutes, or until softened. Add in the chopped rosemary and fry for about another minute. Take off the heat and set aside.
Set aside a generous pinch of grated cheddar.
In a large bowl, mix together the wholewheat flour, plain flour, bicarbonate of soda, the remainder of the cheddar and the salt.
Stir through the onion and rosemary.
Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk.
Mix all the ingredients together, then lightly knead in the bowl until the dough comes together in a ball. You may need to add a splash of milk to bring the dough together. It will be quite sticky.
Allow the dough to rest for about 5 minutes.
Turn it onto the baking sheet and shape it into a round. Using a shape knife, slash a cross into your dough. Cut down either most of the way, or right the way through. The dough will come back together into one loaf as it bakes.
Sprinkle with the cheddar you set aside.
Bake for about 35 to 40 minutes.
Remove from the oven and brush with melted butter.
Cool, then rip into and enjoy.