I have a friend who recently started making his own bread. He uses a bread machine and all the usual ingredients. I have lovely memories of my mum making bread on Saturdays and the smell filling the house. There was nothing nicer than just baked bread with butter (not margarine!).
Baking in general is my therapy. I feel a real sense of calm being in the kitchen. I wanted to try my hand at making bread but I have the tiniest kitchen ever and not much room to make tons of mess (believe me, Rachel Khoo’s kitchen in Paris is probably bigger than mine!).
I decided to try making a really simple soda bread with spelt flour rather than normal wheat flour, and no other frills like caraway seeds or raisins. Spelt flour has a different gluten structure to normal wheat and I don’t seem to have any of the stomach problems I have if I use it.
My ingredients were as follows:
450g white spelt flour
1 tsp salt (I like using Cornish rock salt)
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
350ml of buttermilk
That is it. No more frills, no fuss and I got this yummy loaf.
Here’s how I made it:
To make your own buttermilk
If you can’t find buttermilk in your local shop, you can easily make your own. I just squeeze a lemon and add the juice to a glass of milk. Let it sit for a few minutes.
Preheat the oven to 230˚C/gas mark 8. Sieve the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl. Make a well in the centre. Pour in the 350ml buttermilk, all in one go. Use your hands or a wooden spoon to mix in the flour. Add a little more buttermilk if you need to.
Turn your ball of dough onto a floured board. Wash and dry your hands, then knead the dough lightly for a few seconds – just enough to tidy it up. Flip the dough over on to a large, heavy baking sheet, and pat into a round, about 2.5cm deep.
Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 200˚C/gas mark 6 for another 20 minutes or until cooked.
Test by tapping the bottom of the loaf – it should sound hollow. Eat it on the day you bake it, preferably still warm, cut into thick slices and smeared with butter. It is also amazing with strawberry jam and oddly enough, goes really well with houmous!