One way in which a typical Christmas meal in the UK differs from a US Thanksgiving is that it is much less common to have some form of bread with your British Christmas meal. We tend to be content with putting the bread into the stuffings and if you were in my house, you’d have a good three to choose from. I quite like the idea of a bread, though, to either go with a soup to start the meal or generally have alongside but it can be yet another heavy and not particularly healthy element to the meal. It was this that got me thinking about soda bread, as while it’s still not exactly full of air bubbles, it is fairly easy to make it that bit better for you. Soda bread has the added bonus of being really easy to make.
While these soda bread rolls are good for the Thanksgiving table, they are also great to make at any time to have alongside soup, or have warm topped with butter or cheese. I would warn that, as with a lot of homemade breads, they don’t keep all that well. While they are certainly not stale the next day, they may seem a bit too heavy unless they are heated up. For these rolls, I have used a mix of all-purpose/plain and whole wheat flour, and added some carrot, zucchini and cheddar. Combined, these add texture, flavor and help them be fairly healthy. If you have kids, breads and other baked good are a fantastic way to sneak some veggies in, if that’s a challenge you have, and these are a good example of a savory way to do that.
What’s in soda bread?
The basic ingredients for soda bread are flour, baking soda/bicarbonate of soda, buttermilk and a little salt. From this base, you can play around with different flours and additions. Honey and nuts or apple and cheese are a couple of variations I have seen that look worth a try, but I certainly plan to try to come up with some others. As I mentioned, soda bread is nice and quick to make and so a great option if you would like some home made bread but don’t have that much time. I sometimes mix the dry ingredients and, in this case grate the additions, in the evening the night before then put them together and cut them up in the morning before I bake them so they can be cooking while we eat breakfast and ready to go for lunch. I have formed these in to eight good size rolls, but you can also have it as a loaf or make smaller rolls as you prefer.
So, have a go at these yummy soda bread rolls and play around with your own variations!
Soda bread is a really quick and easy bread to make, and it's easily given more flavor (and veg power!) with some simple additions.
- 1 cup all purpose flour 140g plain flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour 145g whole wheat flour
- 2 tsp baking soda bicarbonate of soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup buttermilk 240ml
- 1/2 cup cheddar 50g, grated
- 1/2 cup carrot 55g, grated
- 1/2 cup zucchini 65g courgette, grated
Preheat the oven to 350F/175C.
In a large bowl, combine the flours, baking soda/bicarbonate of soda and salt.
To this mixture, add the buttermilk, cheddar, carrot and zucchini/courgette and mix to ensure it is all combined but try not to overmix. It is often easiest to use your hand once you have it part way there.
Tip the mixture out on to a lightly floured surface and form it in to a fairly even flattened ball.
Cut the mixture into eight - the easiest way is to cut it almost like a pizza four times all the way across (see picture above).
Roll each piece in your hands to soften off the edges and make into a roughly rounded shape. The shape doesn't need to be perfect, it's better to try not to have any folds or joins as these may make cracks when they bake.
Place the rolls on a lightly floured baking sheet/tray with a good 2-3in/5cm or more between them as they will expand. If you like, gently score the top with an x.
Bake in the oven for approx 40min until browned and hollow sounding when you tap the bottom.