This loaf is a cross between bread and a scone. Its dense yet pleasingly crumbly and the flavour is a happy union of sweet and savoury. It is best eaten directly from the oven with a generous smear of soft, golden butter. But it is also an excellent base for a slice of crisp pear and thick chunk of stiff cheddar. It would also accompany a hot bowl of cauliflower soup nicely. It’s the perfect thing to pop in the oven on a cold winter’s afternoon for a treat, or simply when the bread bin is bare.
Walnut and Honey Soda Bread
- 100g / 3 1/2 oz walnuts
- 100g / 3 1/2 oz honey
- 250g / 9oz wholemeal flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F and lightly oil a baking sheet.
Divide the walnuts into two roughly equal piles. Put one half into a food processor or a mortar, then crush to a coarse powder. Using your hands, break the other pile of walnuts into large, rough chunks. Put the honey in a pan with 150ml / 5 fl oz water and heat gently until the honey dissolves.
Put the flour, baking powder, salt and all the walnuts in a large bowl and combine. Pour in the honey water and mix to a soft, loosely held together dough – don’t knead or overwork it.
Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface, shape it into a rough, round loaf and place on the oiled baking tray. Slice a deep cross into the top, going almost right the way through to the baking sheet.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, until well risen and golden brown. Remove, set aside to cool and serve immediately – at the very latest, eat within 24 hours.