Some breads I love because they require your time and attention. They need your whole day, proofing, resting, folding, and shaping. There are days when I need that. But there are times when I want the taste and smell of fresh bread a bit sooner, and that’s where soda bread comes in. If you panic at the thought of kneading, then this is the bread for you, as the less it’s handled, the better. There’s such a beauty in the ease with which this comes together with simple ingredients, providing you with good bread quickly, without compromising on flavor.
This is best eaten on the same day with butter, or it also makes the perfect bread to dip into a hearty soup.
Watch This Recipe
Squash & Nigella Seed Soda Bread
1 hour 10 minutes
1 large loaf or 2 smaller ones
(12 ounces) butternut squash, peeled
flaky sea salt
(12 fluid ounces, 1½ cups) buttermilk
(9 ounces, scant 2 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra for dusting
(9 ounces, scant 2 cups) wholemeal (whole-wheat) flour
nigella (black onion) seeds, plus extra to finish
1 1/2 teaspoons
bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- Heat the oven to 210°C (190°C fan/400°F/gas mark 6).
- Chop the butternut squash into 2-centimeter (¾-inch) chunks and place on a baking sheet.
- Drizzle with the olive oil and add the cumin, paprika, chile flakes, and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Toss with your hands to make sure the squash is evenly coated in the spices.
- Roast the squash for 25 to 30 minutes, turning halfway, until cooked through. Place the squash into a jug or bowl and mash with a fork. Pour in the buttermilk and stir to combine.
- In a large bowl, mix together the flours, nigella seeds, bicarbonate of soda, and the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt. Pour in the buttermilk and squash mixture and stir with a table knife until you get a shaggy dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, give it just a couple of quick kneads to bring it together, and shape into a mound (or two, if making smaller loaves). You’re not trying to smooth it out, so try not to overwork it.
- Dust a baking sheet with flour or line with baking paper. Place the dough onto the sheet and use a sharp knife to make a deep cross on top, about 4 centimeters (1½ inches) deep. Scatter a few more nigella seeds over the top and bake for 45 to 50 minutes until well risen and the base of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. (If you’re making two smaller loaves, bake for 25 to 30 minutes.) Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool before slicing.