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Sourdough Soda Bread

Ingredients - stage one

1/2 cup sourdough starter (mine is made with wholemeal rye flour)

1/2 cup milk

1/3 cup yogurt or milk kefir

olive oil

flour as required (I use white, usually spelt but have also used standard white bread flour)

Method - stage one

Combine sourdough starter, milk and yogurt in a bowl and add sufficient flour to make a soft, but not sticky, dough. I initially mix with a spoon and then work it, in the bowl, with my hand, adding more flour as necessary until it is no longer sticky.

Press the dough into the bowl to get a fairly flat top to it and pour on olive oil to cover. I then cover the olive oil by pressing cling film onto the surface and also place a damp towel over the bowl. This is to stop the surface of the dough drying out during the fermentation period.

Leave overnight / up to 24hrs to ferment.

Ingredients - stage two

10ml lemon juice

1 level tsp salt

1 rounded tsp bicarbonate of soda

flour as required

Method - stage two

Heat oven to around 350F (I use a rayburn solid fuel stove so temps are never precise for me!).

Remove cling film from dough and tip out onto floured surface. Work in the olive oil with more flour if required. Flatten the dough with floured hands into a sheet and sprinkle the lemon juice evenly over the surface. Pick up on one edge of the dough and roll it up to the opposite edge then work in the lemon juice with more flour. Flatten the dough out once more, sieve the bicarbonate of soda and salt evenly over the surface of the dough, roll up again and knead for a couple of minutes to mix it through thoroughly, adding more flour if needs be - you're after a standard dough consistency.

Shape into a round, place on a piece of baking parchment on a baking tray, flatten slightly then make two short cuts in the centre, like an 'x', with a sharp knife and place in the oven straight away. Check after 20 mins and continue to cook for a further 10-15 mins or until the loaf sounds hollow when the bottom is tapped.

Place on a rack to cool and, if you prefer a soft crust, cover the hot loaf with a damp tea towel for 5-10 minutes.

Flour amounts are imprecise as all bakers will know that the amount needed does depend to some degree on the type of flour you are using. Also I don't do the hydration percentage thing with my starter, I just add a bit of water and rye flour to feed it so sometimes it's more runny than others.

Hope you enjoy this bread if you try it!