This is a recipe I am VERY proud of, creating it for one of the elements of my Ultimate Sharing Feast for episode 6 of Britain’s Best Home Cook: a bread that received raves from Mary Berry, Chris and Dan.
Soda bread can be made up very quickly, and if you have the ingredients ready to go (such as the roasted garlic in this case), then within about 30 minutes you will have a wonderful bread that begs to be eaten.
Pesto in a bread!
This is essentially my pesto-inspired take on soda bread, with flavours that I absolutely adore individually that come together so well with this bread.
The key thing to this soda bread is having identifiable pieces of the basil, the pine nuts and the Parmesan in the bread, rather than the pesto ingredients being there in paste form.
Roasted garlic: one of THE best ingredients!
I cannot recommend the roasted garlic enough. It is a staple in my kitchen and I often make a massive batch of it, keeping what I don’t use in a screwtop jar in the fridge – it will stay there quite happily for weeks!
Recipe: roasted garlic and basil soda bread – makes 2 small loaves or 1 large loaf
for the roasted garlic
- 3 large bulbs of garlic, peeled but left whole
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
for the dough
- 300g plain flour
- 100g spelt flour (or use a total of 400g plain flour)
- 1 rounded teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- large bunch of fresh basil, roughly torn or chopped
- about 50g pine nuts
- about 70g Parmesan, cut into small chunks
- 300-330ml buttermilk (or use natural yoghurt)
(1) Separate the garlic bulbs into cloves and peel. Pop in an oven-proof container with the oil and mix well. Cover and roast for about 40 minutes until soft and golden at 160C (fan) until soft and a light golden brown. Leave to cool.
(2) Put the roasted garlic, its oil and all of the other ingredients apart from the buttermilk in a large bowl. Give them a stir to distribute them fairly evenly.
(3) Add most of the buttermilk and gently work in to give a soft dough, adding more buttermilk if it is too dry and is not coming together.
(4) Split the dough into two and shape each into a ball and dust lightly with flour. Place on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper.
(5) Make two deep cuts on each, almost to the base, with a sharp knife.
(6) Bake in an oven preheated to 200C for about 25 minutes until well risen and deep golden. Leave to cool on the tin and enjoy!