Whole Ancient Grains Breads Rye Soda Bread

Ancient Grains Bread : Rye Soda Bread

I have been making Rye Soda Bread this week as part of my Ancient Grains Bread series.

Soda breads are very simple to make as they don’t require kneading or proving – you use bicarbonate of soda along with an acid to make the bread rise instead of yeast. If you are are just starting to make bread they are ideal.

They are commonly made using wheat flour but I have been experimenting again with many different ancient grains such as rye, barley, spelt, oats and other grains. I had never made a loaf using 100% rye flour before, always including a percentage of wheat. I used half light rye flour and half dark wholemeal rye flour and this mixture resulted in a very successful, fairly dense moist loaf. I also included some caraway seeds as I like the flavour in rye bread, but these could be omitted if you don’t like the taste of caraway.

Ingredients you need to make Rye Soda Bread

  • 8 ounces / 225 grams light rye flour
  • 8 ounces / 225 grams dark wholemeal rye flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • Approximately ½ – ¾ pint of buttermilk
  • 2-3 teaspoons caraway seeds

Directions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 200°C / 180°C Fan / 390°F / Gas Mark 6.
  2. Lightly grease and base line a cast iron casserole pan approximately 2 – 2 ½ litres size.
  3. Sieve the flours and bicarbonate of soda into a mixing bowl, tipping any bran remaining in the sieve into the bowl with the caraway seeds.
  4. Gradually add enough buttermilk to mix to a soft dough. I found the rye flour tended to absorb more liquid than a wheat flour.
  5. Tip the dough onto a floured working surface and knead very lightly until smooth and shape into a round to fit the casserole pan.
  6. Cut a cross in the round and place in the casserole pan and cover with the lid.
  7. Cook in the pre-heated oven for approximately 45-55 minutes until well risen (It will not rise as much as bread made with wheat).
  8. Tip out of the casserole pan and cool on a wire rack wrapped in a tea towel.
  9. When cold slice and enjoy.

Equipment needed to make Rye Soda Bread

Apart from the usual kitchen items and tools you will need a cast iron casserole pan – the one I used for this recipe was approximately 20cm in diameter / 2 litre / 2 kilograms. I do also sometimes use a larger 2.7 litre casserole pan for my soda bread as well. If you only have a larger 2.7 litre pan then you can still use this to make this rye soda bread recipe, it will just fill up less of the pan.

Blue casserole pan on a kitchen table.
My trusty well used casserole pan

Soda Bread with other grains

Rye, barley and oats were the staple grains of the British Isles before the Romans introduced wheat and the concept of leavened bread. The oldest bread found in Britain is over 5000 years old and was unleavened hearth bread, thin and hard more like a biscuit than the fluffy white bread of today. It was made of a mixture of coarsely ground grains, only one of which could be identified as barley.

Breads, porridge and pottage continued to be made from rye, barley and oats and were the staple foods of the poorer sections of society, while breads made with wheat were mainly for the better off and softer white bread only for the rich.

Rye, barley and oats have much less gluten than wheat and produced a harder coarser bread. Nowadays of course the opposite is true – soft sliced white loaves are the cheapest form of bread while different grains are only found in expensive artisan breads.

Ancient Grains Bread : Rye Soda Bread

Recipe by Scones Plus More Cuisine: IrishDifficulty: Easy
Servings

20 approx

servings
Prep time

20

minutes
Cooking time

45

minutes

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces / 225 grams light rye flour

  • 8 ounces / 225 grams dark wholemeal rye flour

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

  • Approximately ½ – ¾ pint of buttermilk

  • 2-3 teaspoons caraway seeds

Directions

  • Pre-heat your oven to 200°C / 180°C Fan / 390°F / Gas Mark 6.
  • Lightly grease and base line a cast iron casserole pan approximately 2 – 2 ½ litres size.
  • Sieve the flours and bicarbonate of soda into a mixing bowl, tipping any bran remaining in the sieve into the bowl with the caraway seeds.
  • Gradually add enough buttermilk to mix to a soft dough. I found the rye flour tended to absorb more liquid than a wheat flour.
  • Tip the dough onto a floured working surface and knead very lightly until smooth and shape into a round to fit the casserole pan.
  • Cut a cross in the round and place in the casserole pan and cover with the lid.
  • Cook in the pre-heated oven for approximately 45-55 minutes until well risen (It will not rise as much as bread made with wheat).
  • Tip out of the casserole pan and cool on a wire rack wrapped in a tea towel.
  • When cold slice and enjoy.

Some ways to serve Ancient Grains Bread : Rye Soda Bread

This Rye Soda Bread is excellent just buttered with honey or a sweet preserve. It is also very good with cheese and even better with smoked salmon and cream cheese.

Ancient Grains Bread Rye Soda Bread sliced and served with cream cheese and smoked salmon.

Personally I prefer it to soda bread made with wheat flour and it seemed to stay fresh and moist for longer.

Happy Baking!

Tanya

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*