We spent Easter weekend basking in glorious sunshine in the countryside of Ireland (true story) while London got hammered with rain. We were extremely lucky and everyone we met along the way didn’t hesitate to remind us. We mostly drove around the contryside and admired the scenery and tried to find nice things to eat which is not easy on Good Friday let me tell you but the highlight was a day long class at the Dunbrody Cookery School where we watched as our chef Edward slaved in the kitchen and we tasted afterwards.
Pascal enjoys cooking and he enjoys learning but a classroom setting had never been one of his strong suits, thus he sat relatively uninterested until the soda bread came out of the oven. It was different and wonderful. The unfamiliar soda bread combined with unlikely ingredients such as curry powder, dried apricots and chilli flakes was all that was need to pique his interest. I liked it too. A lot! But I have issues with bread and the whole processed flour thing. So when we arrived back in London (again to glorious sunshine, weird I know), I ventured to recreate Dunbrody’s bread but with whole wheat flour instead. The result is surely nuttier and more dense, as expected, but also very good. It’s not as crumbly or fluffy but all the same it’s some pretty good bread. If you aren’t brave enough to take the full plunge, just use white flour or better yet half and half.
1lb/450g wholemeal bread flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp curry powder
8-10 chopped dried apricots
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (350 ml)
Pre-heat your oven to 160 C
Grease a loaf tin
Step 1: In a large bowl sieve the flour and the baking soda. You will get a better result if you sieve the flour as wholemeal flour by adding some air into it. It’s a MUST to sieve the baking soda as it is clumpy. To this mixture add the salt, curry, apricots and chilli flakes. Mix well.
Step 2: Pour in the buttermilk and stir until all the buttermilk has been incorporated and you have a gooey mixture. (NOTE: If you cannot find buttermilk, which I could not, you can make your own “soured milk” by adding 1 tbsp of lemon juice to 1 cup of milk)
Step 3: Transfer the dough onto a floured work surface and kneed just to shape the loaf for the tin. Plop the loaf into the tin and press it in.
Step 4: Bake for 1 hour, then flip the bread over and bake for a further 10-15 minutes to finish the bottom crust.