Food, wine, travel, music
This relaxed recipe is an alternative to soda bread and saves the mess of slicing. Don’t get hung up on the proportion of wholemeal to white, but half and half works well. It doesn’t have to be weighed. Once you have a few handfuls of each, that’s all that matters.
Adding some muesli works well and introduces some fruit if you fancy it. I used one that I hadn’t particularly liked for breakfast and it recycled perfectly. I add seeds for health reasons, as well as to give the oatcakes more of a chew and to make them more satisfying. If you do’t have bread soda to hand don’t let it put you off making these. They won’t rise as much so make them thinner so they are more biscuit-like.
Instead of buttermilk plain yoghurt works well. If it is thick, add water or milk to thin it so the dough can be mixed easily and lightly. Any leftover ends of flavoured yoghurt can be used too, as del as sour cream or milk. You want to end up with a loose dough which will rise easier than if it’s packed tightly.
If you are out of all of both buttermilk and yoghurt, using regular milk will still yield a good result. If self-raising flour is all that’s in the house, use that instead of plain flour.
If I don’t feel like messing up the countertop, I drop dessertspoonfuls onto the tray instead of rolling out the dough and pat them down slightly. Oven temperature is the most important element, so turn on the oven before starting to mix the ingredients. A skim of butter or mayo on these is all you will need for a decent breakfast or lunch.
Makes about 24
500g plain white flour
2 level teaspoons bread soda
1 level teasp salt
1 teasp sugar (optional)
50g porridge oats and/or 50g muesli
50g sunflower seeds (optional)
750ml buttermilk or
500ml plain yoghurt plus
1 egg (optional)
Preheat oven to 220c / 425f / gas 7.
Flour 2 trays lightly.
Mix all the dry ingredients first, crushing the bread soda in your hand or sieving it to get rid of lumps.
Add the buttermilk or yoghurt and mik or water as well as the beaten egg and stir gently to wet the dry ingredients so you have a soft, tacky dough.
Turn onto a floured worktop and roll gently with a floured rolling pin, or pat with the hand so the dough is about 5cm/2inches high. Cut into shapes with a biscuit cutter or knife.
Place on the baking trays or simply drop dessertspoonfulls onto the trays and press down gently with the fingers or spoon. They can also be left as they drop as in the photograph. Allow some space between each so the sides can crisp up.
Bake for 15-25 mins, or until there is hollow sound when tapped underneath. Turn over to cool or place on a wire tray.