Brown Soda Bread

Wholemeal bread, like all the soda breads, is better eaten on the day of baking. However it is good toasted the following day if there is any left!


makes 1 loaf
3 cups (330 g) wholemeal flour, stoneground, medium or coarse
1 cup (110 g) plain flour (All purpose)
5 ml (1 teaspoon) salt
5 ml (1 heaped teaspoon) Bicarbonate of soda (Baking soda)
15 ml (1 tablespoon) wheat or oat bran
15 ml (1 tablespoon) wheat or oat germ
2 - 4 tbsp (25-50 g) 1 -2 oz caster sugar (superfine granulated)
2 - 4 tbsp (25-50 g) 1-2 oz butter
400-475 ml (14-16 fl oz) 2 cups buttermilk
1 x 18 cm (7 in) round cake tin or 15 cm (6 in) square tin, between 4-7 cm (1 1/2 - 2 3/4 in) deep


1. Put the wholemeal flour into a large mixing bowl and sieve in the plain flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda. Stir in the bran, germ and caster sugar, mixing thoroughly to combine all the ingredients.

2. Cut the butter into small pieces and rub into the flour mixture until well dispersed.

3. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, and pour in all the milk.

4. Mix with a broad-bladed knife, working very quickly and gently until all the dry ingredients have been drawn together to form a loose dough, a bit like thick porridge. It is important not to overwork the dough, otherwise it will become tough.

5. Lightly grease the cake tin and turn the dough into it, leaving the surface rough.

6. Sprinkle with wholemeal flour and bran to give a nutty surface.

7. Set on a hot baking tray and bake in the pre-heated oven for 10 minutes at 220°C (425°F) gas mark 7 then reduce the heat to 200°C (400°F) gas mark 6 and cook for a further 40 - 45 minutes until the bread is well risen, brown and firm to the touch. When the bread is cooked, a knife inserted into the centre of it should come out clean. The bread should also sound hollow when tapped.

8. Remove from the oven and cover with a clean cloth.

9. When cool, remove from the tin and wrap in the cloth to go cold.

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