Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 30-40 minutes
- 250g/9oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 250g/9oz wholemeal flour
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 25g/1oz butter, melted
- 500ml/17-18 fl oz low fat buttermilk
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6 and ensure the top shelf in the oven is in position.
- Place the flours, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large bowl and stir together. Make a large hole in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the melted butter, plus enough of the buttermilk to make a loose sticky dough.
- Tip the dough onto a lightly dusted work surface. The dough will be quite sticky. Knead the dough for one minute, then shape it into a large ball with a taut, smooth top. Place the dough on a baking tray and flatten it a bit – with your hands.
- Mark a deep cross in the dough with a sharp knife, cutting about two-thirds of the way through the loaf.
- Dust with some flour then bake in the oven for 30–40 minutes, or until the bread is brown, has risen nicely and the dough inside where the cross was made is not damp.
- Serve fresh from the oven. This bread does not keep well, so is best eaten on the day that it is baked – but if you have any left, it does make good toast.
Budget tips: Buttermilk is available in most supermarkets in the dairy section, however you can substitute it by using milk and 1tbsp of lemon juice. Or it is a great way of using up milk on the turn, we have even used left over natural yoghurt.
Storage: Freeze any leftovers by slicing and use for toast.
Swaps and additions: Throw in a handful of dried fruits such as currants or sultanas for a sweet bread; or grated cheese, chopped raw onion and sun dried tomatoes, your favourite herbs or a pinch of chili.