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Jekka's Rosemary and Cheese Soda Bread

by Alistair McVicar |

This is a wonderfully tasty and quick to make soda bread that can use any rosemary you have available. Jekka's trick with cutting rosemary is not to cut flowering shoots; just branches in the green.

This is inspired by Gill Meller's recipe in his book time. The original recipe uses blackcurrants, which I never seem to have available but I have used cranberries or left them out and it still works just as well.

You can also substitute the hazelnuts for walnuts and the cheddar cheese for goats cheese or any combination you wish. The herbs that we have used instead of rosemary include winter savory and tarragon. Please let us know if you find a nut, cheese, herb combination that is really good. 

Makes 1 large loaf

Ingredients:

  • 200g white spelt flour 
  • 50g wholemeal spelt flour
  • 2 heaped teaspoons baking powder
  • 1tsp fine salt
  • 150g grated cheddar cheese
  • 50g shelled hazelnuts bashed
  • 100g cranberries, topped and tailed (can use dried)
  • 2 rosemary sprigs, roughly chopped
  • 230ml whey or buttermilk
  • 2tbsps jumbo oats

Steps

  1. Heat the oven to 200 Deg C / gas mark 6
  2. In a large bowl combine the flour with the baking powder and salt, two-thirds of the cheese, two-thirds of the bashed hazelnut, chopped rosemary, cranberries (if using) and the buttermilk
  3. Use your hands to form a dough into a round, about 20cm diameter.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment, place the dough round on top, scatter over the remaining nuts, rosemary sprigs, cheese and oats.
  5. Make the traditional deep cross, which helps the bread rise.
  6. Place the bread in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes
  7. Serve warm.

If you love the sounds of this recipe and herb-based cooking check out our Master Classes.