Wholemeal Soda Bread with olives and feta

With Paul Hollywood finally getting his own TV programme I think anyone that enjoys baking cakes and treats in the past has decided it’s time to put their hand to baking bread. How hard can it be when Mr Hollywood makes it look so simple?!

However, I think people are often put off making bread because of the time it takes going back and forth waiting for the dough to rise. We’re a fast paced generation that likes to see results quickly and haven’t always got the time or the inclination to have to sit round waiting for the dough to prove before you can carry on with the task.

I’m definitely a case in point for this argument. I struggle to sit still for any length of time at all when I think I could be out exploring somewhere, running in the sun or eating somewhere new.

I think this is where Soda bread really shines. It’s a wonderful loaf that can be made from start to finish in under an hour with the bonus of no kneading. You get to have that fresh bread smell wafting through your house with limited amount of effort or time expelled.

On Sunday morning I had limited time to pull a decent lunch together for Will’s parents but I fancied bulking out a lamb kofta served with tabouleh with some wholemeal soda bread.

I was inspired by Paul Hollywood’s soda bread recipe,  but to make it more complimentary with the rest of the meal I decided to add some finely chopped olives, along with crumbled feta and finally rather than just using buttermilk, I halved the quantity of buttermilk required and instead added some low fat Greek yoghurt.

I was up at 6.30am on Sunday morning (this is usual for me) and mixed all the ingredients together, popped my bread in the oven and headed out for a half hour run whilst my soda bread baked in the oven.

You always have that slightly nervous feeling in your stomach that you’ll come back and the bread will look exactly like it did when you put it in the oven except a solid rock. I’m pleased to say, the bread rose into a golden loaf bursting at the seams of a crusty skin.

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Inspired by Paul Hollywood’s Soda Bread Recipe

Ingredients

250g plain wholemeal flour

250g plain white flour

1tsp bicarbonate of soda

1tsp salt

280ml buttermilk

140ml low fat Greek yoghurt

100g crumbled feta

120g olives finely chopped

Extra flour for dusting

Method

Preheat the oven to 200°C

In a large bowl, mix together the two types of flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt.

Add the finely chopped olives (you can use a food processor to make sure it is finely chopped) and crumbled feta and mix well to make sure it is evenly distributed.

Add the buttermilk and low fat Greek yoghurt and mix until a sticky dough forms.

Lightly flour a work surface and tip the dough onto it.

Gently roll and fold the dough of times to bring the mixture together. Do not knead.

Shape the dough into a ball. Flatten gently with your hand. Score the dough with a deep cross dividing it into quarters (but keeping it as one loaf – not 4 mini loaves!) Dust the bread with flour which will help to encourage a nice crust to form.

Place the dough onto a baking tray lined with baking parchment and bake for 30 minutes.

The loaf should be golden brown and sound hollow when you turn it over and tap it.

Leave to cool on a wire rack. This is best eaten on the day of baking.

It will keep warm for a few hours if you keep it covered with a tea towel.

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There is something so satisfying about cutting through the crust with its dusting of flour, opening up the loaf to reveal the lovely crumb inside. You can see the speckle of creamy white feta throughout the loaf, which provides a sharp contrast to the colour of the wholemeal crumb.

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It’s surprisingly light considering it doesn’t have the usual proving time you expect with a loaf of bread and tastes delicious with the mix of wholemeal and white flour. The olives give an underlying flavour that makes it that little bit more interesting for your taste buds.

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This is lovely served with some butter or in our case, mopping up the tabouleh and Greek yoghurt dressing that it was served with.

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My husband would also recommend it as a fantastic way to eat cheese on toast, which is where the remaining loaf disappeared to later that evening.

There really is no excuse not to have a go at baking bread when it’s this quick to bake, so go and make Mr Hollywood proud and bake some soda bread to go with your next lunch at home.

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4 Responses to Wholemeal Soda Bread with olives and feta

  1. Han says:

    Hello love the sound of this recipe thanks for posting, want to make it this Xmas…do you think Hovis Granary Bread flour will suffice over the wholemeal plain flour, or instead of both?? Does it make a difference to the rise ? Advice appreciated in advance thank you !

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