I love playing around in the kitchen with recipes and lately it’s been scones and soda breads. I like baking scones to compare the recipes and have one, “Rachel Allen’s soda scones” that I like because they raise up so nice and there’s no butter to rub in so they’re quick, (and lower in fat!). They have a different texture that’s not as tender and crumbly as other scones though, BUT it’s that slight chewyness that makes them excellent cut and toasted with butter! oh yummm, it reminds me of Ciabata bread.
Because I’m baking for one or two people, I mix up the dry ingredients for a full recipe, then I put half away in a mason jar to use another day for fresh scones. Just jot down what to add to make the recipe and tape it to the jar, easy!!
This chocolate soda bread I made using that saved half of dry ingredients. I made scones the other day that were half white flour and half wheat, so that’s what I used to make this bread.
It makes a nice little loaf and I think merits more experimenting on my part! I’ve baked plain soda bread and put it right on the cookie sheet as a loaf and added seeds and nuts; there’s so much you can do with it!
The recipe I give here has you mix up the full dry ingredients then divide it. I suggest using all white flour first so you can try the recipe another day and make simple soda scones and see how nice and easy they are. After that try what you like! ps. I always use unbleached white flour and have found no difference in using the cheaper brand from my local supermarket, just make sure it’s unbleached.
Chocolate Soda Bread (by me!)
1. Mix up the first 4 ingredients and measure 2 c + 1 tsp of flour mixture into a jar with a tight lid, put aside to use for another batch of scones.
450g (1 lb) (4 c) Flour (can use 2 c white 2 c wheat)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp – 1 T sugar (depending on how sweet you like your scones, for dinner or savoury scones I only use 1 tsp)
3 T sugar
4 T cocoa powder
1/2 c choc. chips
200 ml buttermilk (or add 1 T lemon juice to reg. milk)
1 tsp vanilla
2. To what’s left in the bowl add and mix well:
3 T sugar
4 T cocoa powder – I used my measuring spoon but didn’t level it and if you sift the cocoa in, it won’t have any lumps.
3. Add 1/2 c chocolate chips and mix around.
4. In a glass measuring cup put:
1 egg (beat egg in the cup then measure out 1 T and put in a small dish to use for brushing the top of the loaf)
1 T lemon juice (leave out if you use buttermilk)
add enough milk to make 200 ml total (use buttermilk if you have it)
add 1 tsp vanilla mix well.
5. Now add liquid to flour all at once and stir with fork or spatula to get all ingredients wet. Then use spatula to start to push it together while scraping the sides of bowl clean. Now use your hand to push it together into a ball as you keep turning it in the bowl and picking up flour, use a kneading motion by folding the dough gently too. You can do the whole thing in the bowl if you like. Don’t overwork it, just get it smooth. Now use both hands to form a ball.
6. Put in a small greased (spray) pyrex bowl and cut an X in the top with sharp knife and gently push apart. Brush top with the 1 T of egg, getting into the cracks too.
7. Bake at 420 F for 5 min. then turn down to 375 F for 45 min. Let cool in bowl 10 min. then remove to cool completely on rack.
Don’t forget to read my notes below about the recipe.
- I think next time I’ll just bake it at 375 for 45 minutes, it should be hot enough.
- For scones bake at 450F / 230C oven 10-12 min. Pat dough out thick, cut, bake on floured pan.
- I haven’t tried it yet but you should be able to bake loaf right on a pan too, floured…maybe shaped like a log with slit cut down centre, or ball with X cut. I think it would make unbelievable scones! My friends will be begging me to have tea and invite them!
- It would be nice with dried cherries or nuts added!
- Also in this bread I used 1/2 an egg but have since changed it so it’s a bit more egg and you take out a tad for the top. It should help it be moister, it’s such a tiny amount it shouldn’t matter. Even using one whole egg is probably fine!
- About cutting the X in the dough, Rachel Allen says that’s to ‘release the fairies’! I love that, I’ve always done it because it’s just traditional and I think it helps it open as it raises but I love her poetic and very Irish explanation!
- Remember this is a soda bread, it smells like cake but isn’t. Though it’s yummy it’s sturdy but the great thing is there’s hardly any fat or sugar in it like a cake. It’s great in the morning with your coffee while you wait for your oatmeal to cook and I bet the kids would love it as a snack with butter. I haven’t tried it toasted yet but if you do, don’t toast it too long and remember those chips will be HOT! (don’t want the little ones burning their mouth)
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