We throw away six million glasses of milk every day. If this statistic terrifies you, you’re not alone. I always feel a guilty twinge of angst every time I find myself pouring sour milk down the drain, wishing I’d been better organized and managed to use it all up before it curdled and started resembling cheese. I feel the same way about yoghurt; a small amount always seems to languish at the bottom of the carton, and it seems such a waste of such a versatile ingredient. Fortunately, there is an easy and delicious answer: soda bread.
This post is part of our Love Food Hate Waste month*
Soda bread, unlike normal bread, is made in minutes: there is no yeast involved, so no proving time. The bread rises thanks to a simple combination of bicarbonate of soda and acid, usually in the form of buttermilk, once it goes in the oven. The resulting bread is delicious, with a moist, almost cake-like texture and a lovely nutty flavour. Plus, you can have it ready in 40 minutes from start to finish.
What is less well-known, however, is that you can make soda bread with both yoghurt and with sour milk, or even with a mixture of both: it’s a perfect recipe for using up yoghurt and milk that are past their best. Obviously you don’t want your yoghurt to have actual mould growing on it (unfortunately there is very little you can do at that stage other than bin it), and your milk can be slightly sour-smelling but don’t use it after it’s actually curdled (you wouldn’t want to anyway). It’s great for milk that you wouldn’t want to drink or put on your cereal, but which hasn’t solidified yet.
You can also make this bread with perfectly fresh milk: just add the juice of half a lemon to give it the necessary acid to react with the bicarbonate of soda. It’s a very versatile recipe; you can use whatever flour you have lying around, especially any little bits let in the bag. I use a mixture of spelt flour and malted seeded bread flour, because I love the nutty flavour and the crunch. I also like to add seeds to mine for extra texture, which is also good for using up odds and ends.
The resulting bread is wonderful: I love it fresh from the oven, warm and topped with jam or marmalade. It’s also excellent with scrambled eggs and smoked salmon, pâté, or with ham and cheese as part of a Ploughman’s lunch. It toasts very well and keeps for a few days, and can also be frozen.
So next time you find yourself about to contribute to those wasted 6 million glasses, make this bread instead.
here's what you'll need...
- 100g rolled oats
- 500g flour (I like to use a mixture of spelt flour and seeded malted flour, but you can also use plain or wholemeal flour, granary flour etc.)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 30g cold butter, cubed
- 4 tbsp seeds (optional: I like to use a mixture of sunflower and pumpkin seeds for extra crunch)
- 400-500ml yoghurt or sour milk (or use fresh milk mixed with the juice of half a lemon)