Soda bread

Thanks again to Jack Monroe for the idea to make a vegan version of soda bread – this time from her article in The Guardian on storecupboard recipes. None of the ingredients need refrigeration. My niece is vegan and it’s always nice to bring something to a family tea that isn’t specifically vegan but that she will happily eat. This fits the bill perfectly as she used to love soda bread when she was a child.

  • 250g flour (doesn’t have to be bread flour – I usually do a mix of 2/3 plain flour to 1/3 wholemeal or 8 grain flour)
  • extra flour for dusting
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 180ml coconut milk (full fat for preference – but low fat would work if you add a bit of extra oil)
  • 1 dessertspoon vegetable oil

Measure the flour, salt, and bicarb into a big mixing bowl.  Combine them well so that the bicarb is thoroughly mixed into the flour.

In a jug, measure out the 180ml coconut milk and the lemon juice.  Add a splash of oil if you’re using low fat coconut milk.

Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture, and pour in most of the coconut milk/lemon juice mixture, and stir quickly until it comes together into a dough. You may not need to add the final bit of liquid – it depends on the flour whether it absorbs all of it or not. Flour your worktop generously, rub a splash of oil on your hands to stop the dough sticking to your fingers, then tip out the dough and knead it gently for about a minute, then form it into a ball.   Use some of the excess flour on the worktop to scatter on a baking tray, then place the dough on the tray.  Score a cross on the top of your ball of dough, dust it with more flour, then put it in the oven (fan oven 160 degrees C) for about 40 minutes.  When it’s done, you should be able to tap it on the bottom and it will sound hollow.  Leave to cool for a bit before slicing.

NB this soda bread recipe can also be made using yogurt, sour cream, or buttermilk in place of the coconut milk. But then it wouldn’t be vegan.

Cheese and onion bread

I got a heart-shaped terracotta bread form as a Christmas present, so here is its first outing!

  • 300g strong white bread flourIMG_20151230_214705
  • 200g strong wholemeal flour
  • 1 sachet fast action yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 100g hard cheese, finely grated
  • 3 spring onions, finely chopped
  • a knob of butter for greasing the bowl

Tip the flours into a large bowl. Put the salt on one side and the yeast on the other, and sprinkle the sugar over the top.  Add about 370ml warm water and the olive oil, then the chopped spring onions, and mix to a dough. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead it for ten minutes. Put it into a greased bowl and cover with greased clingfilm. Leave it in a warm place until it has doubled in size. This should take about an hour.  Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C.  “Knock back” the dough and split it into eight or nine balls.  Put the balls into the breadform with a bit of space between them, then set it to prove in a warm place for another 20 minutes or so.  Then sprinkle the cheese (and any chopped spring onion you have left) over the top of the bread, and bake in the oven for 20  minutes until it’s slightly golden, and sounds hollow if you tap the base of the bread.