The weather seems to have taken a turn to rain and chilling winds along with the ever increasingly dark mornings and evenings. I’m honestly getting excited for christmas time already. A bit eager, I know.
As the light continues to retreat into the night earlier everyday, I seem to retreat indoors and into my comforts with way too much compliance. I snuggle in bed like its December and I’m cradling my steaming bowl of soup like a hot water bottle. I’m unable to pull myself out of bed in the morning with any sort of vigour due to the darkness. I need to get a grip. It’s strange how the seasons change you.
Most of the time, all I want to eat is fresh bread. Keep it simple with lashings of slightly salty butter. Before this, I had only made Soda Bread in school. Once. Whenever I’ve made bread, I always immediately reach for my yeast; completely dismissing any thought to soda bread. This is probably partly to do with the fact that the soda bread at school turned out bland, dense and boring.
One of my friends, a fellow pastry chef, makes ‘cheese balls’ for the rest of the team about once a week. They’re made with tapioca flour and have this weird but irresistible stringy, elastic texture that I can only now associate with these bread balls. Theres just something about cheese and bread that is so reassuring and soothing.
This Soda Bread is comforting, quick and most of all; tasty. I absolutely love the combination of Cheese, sweet Onion and fragrant Rosemary. Accompanied by a dash of smoked paprika, you’re left with a warm, sweet but savoury loaf that’s packed with welcoming flavour that oozes temptation.
- 1 white onion, diced
- 80g cheddar cheese, grated
- 50g gouda cheese, grated
- 170g self-raising wholemeal flour
- 170g plain flour
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 2 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
- 310g buttermilk
- 1/2 tsp. bicarbonate of soda
Start by placing a saucepan over medium heat. Add in some olive oil. When hot, sweat the chopped onion until cooked and translucent. Set aside to cool slightly.
Preheat the oven to 200°C and prepare a baking tray lined with baking paper.
Place the two flours, salt, smoked paprika, rosemary and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl. Add the buttermilk and begin to combine with your hands until you have a very shaggy dough. Add in the cheeses and cooked onion. Work until everything is combined and forms a dough. Be careful not to overwork the dough or the soda bread will be tough.
Shape into a ball and place onto your prepared baking tray. Cut a cross into the top of the loaf using a sharp serrated knife. (Cut quite a bit deeper than a traditional loaf.)
Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until golden brown. The loaf should sound hollow when tapped underneath. Leave to cool and serve.