soda bread (no yeast)
Serves: 6 to 8 Skill level: easy. Prep time: 20 mins. Cook time: 13 mins. Cooking method: oven, larger cast iron pan
2 ½ cups plain flour
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup grated Gruyere or other tasty cheese
6 tablespoons (¾ stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold buttermilk
Parmesan cheese, for grating
Accompaniments: your favorite jam or Vegemite and/or butter
Step 1 Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Step 2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt to blend. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, cut the Gruyere and butter into the flour mixture until the butter resembles small pea-size pieces. Form a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour the buttermilk into the well. Stir just until the mixture is moistened, but still lumpy. Form the dough into a rough ball and place it in a large cast-iron skillet.
Step 3. Push the dough into the bottom of the pan so it’s about 1 ½ inches high all over and cover the pan with foil. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the damper is a deep bronze color all over and a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the center. Grate the Parmesan cheese over the top of the hot damper and serve warm with jam or Vegemite and/or butter.
This is a simple way to make bread to complement a dish at dinner or even a breakfast. It’s so tasty and simple.
Grandpa Tip: when it comes time to place the dough in the cast-iron pan, moist your hands with water so you can work with the dough. It’s very very sticky.