During times of crisis, we often are forced to go back to self-sufficiency. Making your own bread is the epitome of self-sufficiency! The ingredients in bread are simple: flour, water, salt and yeast. The process is so easy when you know how. But what do you do when you can't find yeast? Easy, you opt for soda bread! A delicious yeast-free bread made in various cultures for generations.
How To Make Yeast-Free Soda Bread
Bread making has been done for generations before us but in recent decades we seem to have lost our practice of making homemade bread.
There are various different ways to make bread. In the absence of yeast, you can opt for bread using rising agents similar to that found in cakes. Soda bread is exactly that, and there are a huge variety of recipes available. Our personal favourite is this sweet version, which includes raisins or sultanas - YUM!
- 4 to 4 1/2 cups stoneground white bread flour
- 1 Tbsp coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 1 cup sultanas or raisins
- 1 large free-range egg, lightly beaten
- 1 3/4 cups buttermilk (see below tips for substitute options)
- Preheat the oven to 220’C
- Mix together the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, salt, baking soda in a large mixing bowl.
- Using your fingers, work the slightly melted butter into the dry mixture until it resembles a coarse porridge/meal. Add the raisins/sultanas.
- In a separate mixing bowl mix the egg and buttermilk and beat well.
- Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and slowly add the wet ingredients, mixing with a wooden spoon until dough is too stiff to stir.
- Dust your hands with a little flour, then gently knead dough in the bowl just long enough to form a ball. If the dough is too sticky to work with, add in a little more flour. Be careful not to over-knead. If you over-knead the dough your bread will be tough and dense.
- Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and shape into a round ball. Note that the dough will be a little sticky. Work the dough just enough so all the flour is moistened and the dough sticks together. This video from the Happy Foodie shows you how to knead and shape your loaf.
- Transfer dough to a large, lightly greased baking sheet or tray lined with baking paper (it will flatten out a bit in the pan or on the baking sheet).
- Using a serrated knife, score the top of the dough with an “X” about 4cm deep. Scoring helps heat get into the center of the dough while it cooks.
- Transfer to oven and bake at 200’C until bread is golden and bottom sounds hollow when tapped, about 35-45 minutes.
- Remove tray from the oven, let bread sit in the pan or on the sheet for 5-10 minutes, then remove to a rack to cool briefly.
- Serve bread warm, at room temperature, or sliced and toasted.
Top Tips For The Best Soda Bread
- To check if the bread is done insert a long, thin skewer into the center. If it comes out clean, it’s done.
- If the top is getting too dark while baking, tent the bread with some foil.
- Soda bread only keeps for a day or 2 maximum. Eat it warm on the day of baking – delicious!
- If you do not have buttermilk you can substitute it with the equivalent amount of milk with 1 Tbsp vinegar added. Add the vinegar to the milk, shake well and leave to stand for 5 minutes until the milk curdles. You can also use the equivalent amount of slightly off milk with the same result. The creamier the milk the better this works as a substitute. We recommend premium cream farm milk.
- There are many different recipes for soda bread. A simple google search will give you endless options.