For a year and a half I worked in a lovely little tearoom in the middle of nowhere, halfway up a glen. It was hard graft but, in many respects, my dream job. We got a good reputation, so summers were chaotic and we often worked 12-hour shifts, yet still, it seemed we couldn’t bake fast enough! But during the autumn and winter pace would change. We would pad about making big hearty soups, cakes and soda bread, stopping to speak to the regulars that had braved the weather to visit us. The owner, a good family friend, is from the Isle of Barra and so we would refer to this time of year as “island pace”. I was working with all my childhood friends and we did nothing but bake, blether and eat. Whenever I make soda bread now, I think back fondly to that wee café in the hills and of cooking, making coffee and looking out on to snowy mountains.
- 2 large white onions or 3 banana shallots, finely sliced
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 20 grams caster sugar
- 450 grams self-raising flour plus extra for dusting
- ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 250 millilitres milk
- 100 grams natural yogurt
Balsamic Onion Soda Bread is a guest recipe by Flora Shedden so we are not able to answer questions regarding this recipe
- Preheat the oven to 180℃ (350°F) Gas Mark 4.
- Put the sliced onions into a deep saucepan with the vinegar and sugar and cook over a medium-low heat for about 15 minutes. You are looking to soften the onions, then almost caramelize them. There should be no excess liquid in the pan.
- While this is happening, weigh out the flour, bicarb, milk and yogurt into a large bowl to prepare the bread mixture.
- Once the onions are ready, slide the pan off the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
- Stir the bread mixture together gently until just combined, then stir through the onions. Again, do not overmix – you just need to ensure the onions are evenly dispersed.
- Generously dust a baking tray with flour, then tip the dough on top.
- Shape your bread, dusting your hands with the flour from the tray to avoid sticking – you are looking for a traditional round. Score the round into quarters.
- Bake for 30 minutes. Your bread should be golden brown and hollow-sounding when tapped on the underside. Allow to cool completely for neat slices or, if you are feeling greedy, tuck in straight away, slathering the bread with good salted butter.