I had some cream in the fridge that was nearing its use by date this morning so I whipped it in the mixer to make butter. The buttermilk was staring at me. So I made this beauty for lunch. It is a very simple soda bread that takes minutes to make and minutes to cook and is delicious warm out of the oven spread with butter (which, handily, I had).
I freshly milled the flour for it because I can. If you are a keen baker I urge you to consider the outlay for a home mill. It will change your baking game. The taste of freshly milled flour is wonderful. I am incredibly lucky to have an organic farmer just up the road (about 5 miles away) who is innovative in many ways, but not least in the grain that he grows on his farm. Mark Lea farms at Green Acres Farm in Kemberton and is worth following on twitter. This particular grain is Wakelyns YQ developed by Martin Wolfe on his agroforestry farm in Suffolk. It was bred by Martin as a diverse landrace so that it could resist both disease and drought and was bred for both yield (Y) and quality (Q). It has a protein content of 12% so just a little bit stronger than a plain flour but I have successfully made scones and biscuits with it that are tender rather than tough.
Can my old regular readers tell how grain/ bread obsessed I have become?
If you don’t happen to know a farmer who will sell you grain for you to mill at home…..(anyone?) then you can use any wholemeal flour that you have in the cupboard, spelt would be delicious. If you don’t have any wholemeal then by all means use all plain white.
300g flour (I used half wholemeal, half white)
230g butter milk (If you use all white flour, you may need a little less) (if you don’t have buttermilk, add a squeeze of lemon juice to milk)
1/2 (half) tsp fine salt
1/2 (half) tsp bicarbonate of soda
50g cheese and extra for the top
sprigs of thyme, chopped fine
Preheat your oven to 220c, 200c fan, gas mark 7 or use the floor of the roasting oven of the Aga. Lightly butter a baking tray.
Place your flours, salt, bicarbonate of soda and thyme in a large bowl. Mix well. Grate the cheese into the bowl and mix through the flour. Add the buttermilk and cut through using a knife until it starts to come together. Using your hands gather into a ball, place on the baking tray and flatten out. Cut into four using a knife. Brush a little extra buttermilk on top of the scones if you have some left. Grate cheese over the top.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. You can also flatten out on a lightly floured worktop and cut into scones using a cutter. They will be baked in 10-12 minutes this way.
Remove from the oven place on a wire rack and eat warm, spread with plenty of butter.