Clodagh's rosemary bread

By Clodagh McKenna
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The smell of this bread will fill your home with warmth and love all day long. It’s a very simple stir, shape and bake bread – there’s no kneading or resting involved. It’s a take on Irish soda bread and is wholesome and crumbly but doesn’t leave you feeling bloated like yeast bread can. It will last for about a week, and also freezes really well. If you have never baked bread before, start with this stress-free one! 

YIELDS
1 LOAF

Ingredients

Rosemary Bread

  • 200g (7oz) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • 350g (12oz) wholemeal flour
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
  • 250g (9oz) natural yogurt
  • 350ml (12fl oz) full-fat milk

Topping

  • 2 tablespoons full-fat milk
  • 2 tablespoons natural yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary or thyme
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Directions

  1. .Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). 
  2. Sift the plain flour and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl, then stir in the wholemeal flour and rosemary. Using clean hands, mix all the ingredients together. Make a well in the centre of the bowl.
  3. Whisk together the yogurt and milk and slowly pour into the well of the dry ingredients. (You can also use 600ml/20fl oz buttermilk or 600ml/20fl oz full-fat milk rather than the yogurt and milk mix.) Using a fork, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ones. Make sure that there are no dry patches, and that the dough is completely wet. Pat your hands with flour and shape the dough into a round. Place on a floured baking tray.
  4. Flour a large knife and cut a cross into the top of the dough, about two-thirds of the way through.
  5. Brush the dough with the milk and yogurt mixture using a pastry brush, which will give a lovely golden colour to the bread once baked.
  6. Sprinkle the chopped fresh herbs and sea salt on top. (You can also top with seeds like sesame, pumpkin, fennel or sunflower instead of the herbs and salt. Gently push them into the dough so that they don’t fall off.)
  7. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (180°C) and bake for a further 20 minutes.
  8. To test whether the loaf is cooked, tap the bottom with your knuckles; it should sound hollow. Leave to cool on a wire rack. 
  9. Slice and enjoy!

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