Beer and bread are age-old partners. Both made from readily available cereal crops, they have long been the staple of the working man. In fact, if you look back to the Sixteenth century in Scotland, you’ll find that the food allowance for servants in the courts of the gentry consisted simply of those two items; beer and bread. And so, it follows also that when a quick simple loaf is the order of the day, soda bread is a perfect choice as there is no proving required. Beer can easily be used as the liquid to react with the bicarbonate of soda. Making soda bread with ale or stout in place of the more traditional buttermilk yields a loaf with a rich malty flavour and a mellow bitterness. This is a perfect foil to a sweet and tangy topping such as Dunlop cheese with spiced apple chutney. It’s also the perfect accompaniment to a huge bowl of warming soup packed with chunky seasonal vegetables!
Beer and rosemary soda bread
400g plain flour
1 330ml bottle ale – I used Innis & Gunn Toasted Oak IPA
2 tsp baking soda
2 sprigs rosemary finely chopped
1 tsp sea salt
1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°c. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. You may have to adjust flour or add a little water, depending how wet or dry the mix looks, but it should be a dough consistency. Don’t work the dough, merely bind it together.
2. Form the mix into a round and place on a heated baking tray. Splash a little water on top.
3. Bake 40 minutes or so in the middle of the oven with a roasting tray of water in the bottom of the oven to maintain a moist atmosphere.
First appeared in Innis & Gunn blog, December 2012