Now, I couldn't have lived in Ireland for as long as I have without developing and refining a brown soda bread recipe.
I am still on an ongoing quest to make the perfectly moist and green-tinged brown bread of Joe's dreams. But this recipe has garnered many compliments and is easy to whip together at 10pm when you realise there is nothing in the house for breakfast in the morning.
If you don't have buttermilk in the house (which is often the case for me) you can make a good substitute by adding 2 tsp of lemon juice to 400ml of milk.
225g plain flour
225g wholemeal flour
1tsp bicarb of soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
25g butter, softened
350 - 400ml buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 220C.
Mix the flours, bicarb and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and rub into the flour with your fingertips until you get a breadcrumb like texture.
In a jug, mix the egg and the buttermilk together and pour about 350ml into a well made in the centre of the flour mixture. Stir together with a wooden spoon until it comes together and forms a dough. The mixture should be soft but not sticky so add more milk or flour as necessary.
Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and gently shape into a round about 4cm deep.
Place on a baking tray and cut a deep cross in the top of the bread.
Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 200C and continue to bake for a further 30 mins.
The bread is done when it is a deep golden brown colour and sounds hollow when tapped on the base.
Cool on a wire rack.