Soda bread is a bread that is made without yeast, therefore it requires no kneading or proving. Instead the bread rises from the reaction between bicarbonate of soda and buttermilk. I've added extra flavour to create this Cheese & Caramelised Onion Soda Bread recipe which is so easy to make! If you want homemade bread but you're worried about the bread not rising, or you're just short on time, then soda bread is the ideal solution. It's so quick to make and this version is flavoured with delicious tangy and sweet caramelised onion and salty cheese, perfectly for slathering in butter!
How to make Cheese & Caramelised Onion Soda Bread
Start by cooking the onion in olive oil. When it is soft, add balsamic vinegar and soft light brown sugar. Let it simmer for around 15 minutes, then set aside to cool.
In a mixing bowl, sieve plain flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt, and stir together. Then mix the cheese and onion into the flour.
Next, add the buttermilk to the flour and bring it together to make a dough. Shape it into a ball and cut a deep cross down the middle, then top it with some extra cheese. Bake it for 35 minutes until golden, risen and smells amazing!
What is the best cheese to use?
The best cheese to use for this recipe is cheddar. I like to use a mature cheddar for a good strong flavour. Any hard cheese you can grate, and that melts well, can also be used.
What if you don't have any buttermilk?
You can make an easy buttermilk alternative at home using milk and either lemon juice or cider vinegar. To make the homemade buttermilk, measure out the same amount of milk as the recipe requires of buttermilk. Then add either 1 tablespoon (a proper measuring spoon, not the kind you eat cereal with) of either fresh lemon juice or cider vinegar to the milk. You can also use white vinegar, but avoid malt vinegar or balsamic vinegar. Stir them together then set aside for 5 minutes. You will notice the milk turns very lumpy - and it's ready to use!
What can you serve with soda bread?
- Any kind of soup, it's great for dunking!
- It's great to mop up gravy from a stew
- It's great at a picnic or a buffet
- Make it into a sandwich
- Enjoy it with cheese and chutney
- Simply slathered with butter
How long does soda bread last for and can it be frozen?
Soda bread is best eaten on the day it's made, and at a push the day after. It goes stale much faster than regular bread, so once it is fully cool, store it in an airtight container. If it has gone stale, you can still eat it, but you may like to warm it up slightly in the oven for 5 minutes or pop a slice in the toaster.
You can also freeze soda bread, either in an airtight container or wrapped well with cling film. Freeze for up to 3 months. For ease, you can slice it up first, then defrost a few slices at a time. Again, you may like to toast it after defrosting it, or warm it back up in the oven before serving.
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Cheese & Caramelised Onion Soda Bread
For the bread
- 1 White onion diced
- 1 tbsp Olive oil
- 1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 tbsp Light brown sugar
- 450 g Plain flour
- 1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tsp Salt
- 300 ml Buttermilk or milk with 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 75 g Mature cheddar cheese grated
- 25 g Mature cheddar cheese grated
- Cook the white onion in the olive oil. When it is soft add the balsamic vinegar and light brown sugar. Let it simmer for around 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool
- Pre-heat your oven to 160C Fan/180C/350F/Gas Mark 4
- Sieve the plain flour into a bowl and add the bicarbonate of soda and salt, stir together
- Mix the cheese and the cooled onion into the flour mixture
- Add the buttermilk to the flour and bring it together to make a dough. Work it as little as needed. Shape it into a ball on a baking tray dusted with flour and cut a cross down in the centre, cut deeply, almost to the bottom but not all the way through. Top with the extra cheese
- Bake the loaf for 30-40 minutes. When it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom it's done
- Cool on a rack, you can eat it warm or wait till it cools, store in an airtight container and it's best eaten within 1-2 days, but will last 3 days