Gordon Ramsay’s tv shows are a little unconventional but his food is actually tasty. I didn’t find anything in this book that I thought was overwhelmingly original, but most of it tastes great and it does what it promises, which is teaching home cooks how to make classic food taste good.
I made this bread before I researched other bread recipes online because of most of the things in this book work out and I was lazy. Bad idea. Most other soda breads, including other at home cooks who have made this one, bake for 40-55 minutes. This book instructs you to cook it for 30-35 and then tap the bottom to make sure it’s done (you are listening for a hollow sound). My first attempt was still very raw in the middle. It took a full 50 minutes to cook this bread through and it could have used another five. Frustrating to say the least. That being said, it is very delicious. It is a hearty bread and tastes like buttermilk biscuits. I made it to go with my homemade turkey soup and it held up well to being dipped. It is also lovely toasted with jam the next day. Being soda bread, it dries out quickly so is best eaten the first night. I made Sweet Potato Stuffing with the leftovers and it was amazing. Make sure your soda is fresh or you will end up with heavy, doughy bread.
You Will Need:
- 3 cups of all purpose flour
- 1 and 1/4 cups of whole wheat flour
- 1 and 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp of sugar
- 2 cups of buttermilk.
Note: Gordon suggests if you don’t have buttermilk to use regular milk and a level teaspoon of cream of tartar. This works just fine. I have tried both methods.
Prepare The Dough
Preheat the oven to 400F. Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl and make a well. Gordon instructs you to reserve 2 tbsp of the buttermilk aside, this is good advice. The humidity of your flour changes all the time and your may need more or less depending on conditions and your flour. Pour the buttermilk into the well while stirring with a fork. Make sure all the dry ingredients are worked in but don’t mix more than you have to. If the dough hasn’t quite come together and seems dry, add the reserved buttermilk. I had to each time I made it except for the time when I used the buttermilk substitute.
Shape And Bake The Loaf
Tip the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead for 30 seconds (I just kneaded it 30 times until it started to feel like bread dough). It almost shapes itself when it’s ready. Make a round and cut a deep cross into it with a bread knife. Gordon cooks his on a floured baking sheet, I put mine on a stoneware baking pan, either is fine. Pop it in the oven. Gordon’s recipe suggests 30-35 minutes. I would check it after 30. It will be a deep golden brown when it’s done and when you tap the bottom it will sound like you’re knocking on a door. If it’s not done i will sound dull when you tap it. Look carefully at the cross too. Does any part of it look wet? Put it back in the oven if it does.
Let me know what your cooking time was. My burn-o-matic oven is not the most reliable, but I rarely have an issue with underbaking things.