FOLLOWING the article about bread by Marie-Louise Backhurst titled ‘The Conquest of Bread’, which appeared in the Autumn issue of RURAL Jersey Country Life magazine, we received this letter from James McLaren, which we publish below:
‘I acquired some of the National Trust for Jersey’s flour a month or two back. I happened to be watching Tom Kerridge on BBC2 and picked up his recipe for soda bread.
‘I’ve tried this, and to quote Mr Kerridge: “It’s proper lush”! I made it as a round flat loaf, which I then cut into quarters – I believe these are what they call “soda farls”.
‘Split a farl, toast it and smother it with butter, and it’s a very good accompaniment to homemade soup. Conveniently it is possible to get local buttermilk from Classic Farm Ship, St Peter.
340g plain wholemeal flour
240g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting,
45g butter, softened
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1½ tsp salt
1 tsp cracked black pepper (peppercorns put in a mortar and bashed)
625 ml buttermilk
‘Preheat the oven to 200C / 400F ‘ Gas 6. Put both flours and the butter in a large bowl and mix, then add the bicarbonate of soda, salr and pepper.
Stir in the buttermilk and use your hands to mix all the ingredients together until a soft dough forms (you will probably need a bit of flour; the dough is very sticky at this point). Split the dough in two and transfer to two greased baking sheets. Shape into large flat disks and dust with a little extra flour.
‘It might look disastrous at this point, but do not fret – put the baking sheet in the oven and bake the bread for 45 minutes. It will come out looking like a proper loaf and it should be golden in colour.
‘Transfer the loaf to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.’