Granted, dad's can be tricky to buy for, so this Father's Day, why not bake something for him instead? But we're not thinking cupcakes, we're thinking a delicious loaf of beer soda bread, especially as the 15th of June is National Beer Day!
We've included the recipes for a sweet and a savoury version, so whether you're making bacon and eggs for breakfast in bed, a killer sandwich for a special lunch or simply toasting and covering with jam, this loaf is the perfect way to say 'thanks dad!' this weekend!
Soda bread is the quickest and easiest loaf to put together if you want some bread to go with dinner or, even better, to go with cheese and meats. The basic recipe is also ideal for experimenting with different beers and other ingredients, especially as it’s a forgiving loaf that doesn’t need the same kind of care as a yeast-risen bread. I have two favorite versions: one savory (Cheese, Onion, and Porter) and the other sweet (Dried Fruit and Dubbel).
2 cups (250g) wholewheat (wholemeal) flour, plus extra for dusting
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
1 tablespoon honey
2⁄3 cup (150ml) beer
1⁄3 cup (100ml) buttermilk or natural yogurt
Plus your selection of additional ingredients (see below)
Preheat the oven to 400ºF/200ºC/Gas 6.
Makes 1 loaf
Mix all the dry ingredients in one bowl and all the wet ingredients in another. Then pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones, and mix together well, eventually using your hands to form the mixture into a bread dough.
Knead the dough for a few minutes on a floured work surface, shape into a round loaf, and place on a baking tray. Score a large cross in the top of the loaf. Bake in the oven for around 45 minutes. To check if the bread is ready, turn the loaf over and tap the base—if it’s done, it’ll sound hollow.
Cheese, Onion, and Porter
Add . cup (75g) grated Cheddar cheese to the bread dough (reserving some to sprinkle on top of the loaf). Use some Porter for the beer element. Finely chop some rings of red onion and arrange them on top of the loaf before baking. Finally, sprinkle with a few sprigs of rosemary to serve.
Dried Fruit and Dubbel
Into the dough, add . cup (75g) of mixed dried fruit and a teaspoon each of ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg. Use a Belgian Dubbel as the beer. Sprinkle some brown sugar over the top of the loaf before baking.
For more beer inspired recipes, check out Cooking with Beer by Mark Dredge.