Thursday 20 July 2017

Balsamic Onion Soda Bread aka your next cheese platter staple.

I've been really enjoying making bread lately and I've been trying my hand at sourdough which you might have seen over on instagram. My sourdough baking is VERY hit and miss but I might be my harshest critic as Tris is very complimentary of my bread and often tells me to shut-up when I start criticising my latest loaf. Which I'm sorry to say, this post is not about sourdough as I am in no way ready to share a sourdough recipe (yet) as I don't think I've found one that gives me consistent results or (which is most likely the answer) I'm not ready to even start to tell you what to do. I am newbie at it so feels a little cocky to start preaching to you what to do. But what I have made lately is a different kind of bread which I am comfortable to tell you about. Soda Bread. Balsamic Onion Soda Bread to be precise.

Balsamic Onion Soda Bread | Gathering Flora Shedden | salt sugar and i

Balsamic Onion Soda Bread | Gathering Flora Shedden | salt sugar and i

Soda Bread is kind of like a fancy Australian Damper cross with an Australian/UK Scone. I keep writing 'Australian' because a scone here (and in the UK) is not the same thing as what a scone is in the US. This kind of quick rise bread isn't the same as a kneaded yeast risen loaf, it gets it's lift from the acid in the buttermilk or yoghurt reacting with bicarb soda creating air and small bubbles - hence the name, Soda Bread. This fancied up Soda Bread has balsamic caramelised onions strewn throughout and like a match made in heaven, pairs perfectly with some strong vintage cheddar or a sharp blue as it has a sweetness to it that complements savoury things... like a good in-built quince or fig paste. Mmmm my mouth is watering as I write this.

Balsamic Onion Soda Bread | Gathering Flora Shedden | salt sugar and i

My photography doesn't look much cop and  agree with you if you're thinking right now 'why on earth is she going on about this rock-like-thing-on-a-baking-tray?!?' but trust me. This will be one of the easiest breads you'll probably ever make and be one of the most perfect additions to your next cheese platter cut into wedges, just waiting to be topped with a hefty chunk of cheese or a olive oil soaked sun-dried tomato.

If you're not a fan of the idea of sweet onions in your bread you could swap them for chopped marinated olives or diced semi-sundried tomatoes or even some garlic and herbs? It's a very versatile bread so really this recipe is your soda-oyster... er.. doesn't quite work hey?... ah well you get what I mean. I'll be making the a garlic & herb version this weekend to go with Sundays bolognese cook up and who's maybe I'll mast that pesky sourdough this weekend too.

Balsamic Onion Soda Bread

recipe slightly adapted from Gatherings by Flora Shedden

2 large white onions or 3 banana shallots, finely sliced
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
20g raw caster sugar
450g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
250ml milk
100g greek yogurt

Start by preheating your oven to 180C/350F and line a tray with baking paper.

Place the sliced onions into a deep saucepan, add the vinegar and raw caster sugar and over low to medium heat, cook for about 15 minutes. You want the onions to soften first and then almost caramelise so cook until all the liquid in the pan is gone.

Once the onions are caramelised, allow to cool for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the self-raising flour, bicarb, milk and yogurt into a large bowl.

Gently stir the bread mixture together until just combined, then stir through the (slightly cooled) onions. Try not overmix this – you just need to make sure the onions are evenly dispersed throughout and there are not chunks of flour/wet spots.

Next, dust your prepared tray with flour, then tip the dough on out ontop. To shape your bread, dust your hands with more flour to avoid sticking and gently shape into a round loaf-like shape. To help the bread open out, using a very sharp knife, score the round into quarters.

Bake for 30 - 40 minutes (depending on your oven). Your bread should be golden brown and hollow-sounding when tapped on the underside.

Allow to cool completely for neat slices or as Flora Sheddan says: if you are feeling greedy, tuck in straight away, slathering the bread with good salted butter.


  1. I love a good hunk of soda bread and adding caramelised onions is such a brilliant idea! Your description of it is making my mouth water!

  2. This looks incredible! The perfect soda bread to enjoy at non st patrick's day times of year! :-)

    1. Thanks Cakespy! A good soda bread should be enjoyed all year round :)

  3. Thanks for sharing such a useful post.

    1. No worries Ronda, I hope you like it! Thanks for stopping by x


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