When you’ve got someone coming over and it’s heading for lunch, you look in the cupboards to see what you’ve got to offer. Nothing. Monday is usually my shopping day but seeing as it was a bank holiday and I was somewhere rather nice having fun ( Bath in England ) the shopping hadn’t been done and even the fridge was looking very sorry for itself. Except for a half litre of buttermilk, which means soda bread in my house. The kids love it because as a general rule I buy whole grain brown bread and this soda bread is white, so for them it’s a treat. For me it’s the easiest thing in the world to make and has very little ingredients, so I always keep some buttermilk in the fridge. It has a pretty long date on it so you can usually keep it for up to a month, as a wonderful backup for those days you’ve run out of bread.
450g plain white flour
1level teaspoon salt
1 level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda or bread soda
About half a litre of buttermilk
Preheat oven to 250 C or 475 F. Mix the dry ingredients make a well and pour in all the milk at once. Using your hand, quickly move in circles mixing from the centre drawing in the flour from the edge till you have a soft but not sticky dough. Turn it out onto a dusted baking tray and gently pat it into a round shape about 1 1/2 inch thick. Using a sharp floured knife cute a deep cross into the top and prick the four corners . Bake in the hot oven for 15 minutes and then turn down to 200 C or 400 F and cook for 20 minutes more or until it sounds hollow when you tap the bottom of the bread. Allow to cool. Best eaten on the day of making either with a bowl of homemade soup or lots of butter and jam.