I have been wanting to try my hand at bread baking for a while now, but have always been put off by how complicated it seemed to be. All that proving, kneading, proving, kneading etc… Way too time consuming for a busy mother of three!
Ok, that sounds really lazy…but then I came across this super simple recipe in a recent cookbook purchase* and decided that the time had come to shrug off my bread-indolence, roll up my sleeves and test my bread-making metel.
This is definitely my kind of recipe. Few ingredients, quick to prepare and fuss-free. This makes one loaf.
- 3 1/4 cups strong white flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 – 1 3/4 cups buttermilk
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Sift all the dry ingredients together into a large bowl. Pour in the buttermilk and mix together until you have a softish, not too wet and sticky, dough.
2. Turn out the dough onto a well-floured surface ( I personally like my silicone baking mat) and pat the dough into a circle about 1 1/2 inches thick. Cut a cross into the middle and prick the “corners” (traditionally the cross was to bless the bread and the pricking was to let the fairies escape…). Put onto a baking sheet.
3. Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 400 degrees F and bake for a further 30 minutes. The bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped on the underside. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
A good tip for all bread: do NOT try to cut it when fresh out of the oven. It will just tear up. Allow the bread to cool for at least 30 minutes before attempting to slice.
* English Tea & Cakes, by Anova Books ISBN 978-1-190844-991-7