..without having to buy a bread-maker, or spend time each morning and evening kneading dough.
Read more about why you should care about real bread here, but in summary: mass-produced bread is nutritionally limited; the white stuff is made of refined white flour which causes unhealthy blood sugar spikes; and evidence suggests that long-fermented sourdough is easier to digest than bread made using the Chorleywood Bread Process (80% of bread). Unless organic, it is also made using flour that has been sprayed with pesticides and herbicides – 30% of bread tested by the Soil Association contained traces of the controversial weedkiller glyphosate.
What’s the solution? If you’re lucky enough to have a good bakery near you, problem solved: they’ll use good, simple ingredients, and will take the time to employ the proper slow-rise or ferment (for sourdough) methods. If you have any doubts about this, just ask – they’ll be proud to tell you if they are. The other alternative is to make your own, which is easy, particularly if you have a bread maker, but can be too time-consuming to fit in around a busy lifestyle, despite the best of intentions.
This soda bread recipe takes five minutes to prepare and 35 minutes to bake – mix it up and pop the bread in while the oven is on for something else, then slice and freeze the loaf, so you always have fresh, organic bread when you need it. It doesn’t require buttermilk (because who ever uses the rest of that up?) and it doesn’t taste off-puttingly of bicarbonate of soda like many soda breads do.
– it doesn’t make a huge loaf, but if you double the quantities, for some reason it does taste of bicarbonate of soda
– using pre-shaped loaf tin liners makes the prep even quicker, and they come out clean enough to be re-used
– it is even more delicious with a handful of grated cheddar and a generous sprinkling of dried mixed herbs
– other good additions are toasted seeds or chopped toasted nuts (not for babies though – choking hazard); mixed spice, raisins and 1 tablespoon honey for tea-bread (again, not for babies); a tablespoon of chopped fresh rosemary; chopped sundried tomatoes; grated courgette or carrot
Easiest-ever soda bread:
Ingredients – go organic!
250g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
100ml whole milk
150ml full-fat plain yoghurt
(1/2 teaspoon of salt if babies won’t be eating it)
Pre-heat oven to 180C / Gas 5. Grease and line a loaf tin or a baking tray.
Combine the flour and bicarb (and salt, herbs, raisins etc. if using).
Measure the milk into a jug, and then the yoghurt (into the same jug to save on washing up! Combined, they should measure 250ml).
Pour the milk and yoghurt into the flour mixture (add cheese is using) and fold until just combined – it should be quite a sticky mix, closer to a cake batter than a bread dough. If it isn’t wet enough, add another teaspoon of yoghurt and splash of milk.
Scrape into the loaf tin, or straight onto your baking tray in a craggy untidy heap. Bake for 35 – 40 mins, until deep golden brown all over and feels firm.
Try it, memorise the quantities so you can mix it up with your eyes closed, and I promise you the only time you’ll go back to bleached white supermarket bread is for a fish-finger sarnie (coz that’s just not right on good bread).
The headline maths (prices correct 17.12.15)
Warburtons sliced white: £1
1. Doves Farm organic flour £1.75 / 4 servings = 44p
2. Yeo Valley organic yoghurt £2.50 for 1kg / 7 servings = 36p
3. Organic whole milk £1.10 for 1.2L / 12 servings = 9p