Olive Magazine
a oaf of soda bread on a sheet of baking paperwuth a knife, next to a small plate of salted butter with a white background

Wild garlic soda bread

Published: April 5, 2022 at 3:56 pm
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  • Preparation and cooking time
    • Total time
  • Easy
  • Serves 4 - 6

If you're planning to go foraging for wild garlic this spring, here's a perfect recipe for putting those fresh, pungent leaves to great use

  • Vegetarian
Nutrition: Per serving (6)
NutrientUnit
kcal305
fat5.2g
saturates2.5g
carbs51.5g
sugars3.8g
fibre5.2g
protein10.5g
salt1.7g
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Make this spring soda bread, then check out our classic soda bread, seeded rye bread, wholemeal bread and more bread recipes. For a party starter try our garlic bread recipe.

Recipe writer Rosie says: "Patches of glossy wild ramsons choose this month to yawn their unmistakable garlic scent across British woodlands and forests. These pungent, hyper-seasonal green leaves replace garlic cloves in my cooking at this time of year.

"A little goes a long way, too: it’s mellower than fresh garlic but still pretty pungent, especially raw. Use it with caution rather than wild abandon. I prefer the younger, more tender leaves to the fibrous, older ones, and also use the pretty white flowers as a garnish and garlicky seasoning for many savoury dishes.

"If you’re picking your own wild garlic, make sure you’re 100% certain that it’s definitely what you think it is. Look for smooth, pointed green leaves and small, star-shaped white flowers (not to be confused with poisonous lily of the valley, which looks similar). The biggest giveaway, of course, is the scent of fresh garlic. Make sure you’re picking from a plentiful patch; cutting, not uprooting; and leaving behind enough for wildlife. If it doesn’t smell like garlic, or you’re in any doubt, don’t pick it – instead, book onto a foraging course or buy from a trusted supplier.

"You can order wild garlic on Natoora from Ocado, or seek out one of the many reputable foragers who harvest and sell online. Wild garlic is also cropping up increasingly on restaurant menus. I use it to make a tub or two of pesto, which gets blitzed up and frozen to keep spring alive in my kitchen for a little longer. It’s a dream with eggs, too: finely shredded and stirred into egg mayo sandwiches, omelettes, frittatas and scrambles. Wilt it into meaty braises; chop and mix through stuffings; blitz into sauces, mayos and purées; use it to add a bright green garlic note to risottos; and use it as a filling for ravioli.

"Another delicious way to use wild garlic is in savoury bakes – swirl it into the filling for a tart or mix with sausagemeat to bake between layers of puffed pastry for punchy sausage rolls. The recipe opposite uses its gorgeous green charms to infuse a simple soda bread that can be made and baked in about an hour. It has a pleasingly crunchy crust and is crowned with oatmeal. Eat it slathered with butter as an accompaniment to a spring soup or chicken stew."

Ingredients

  • 284ml buttermilk
  • 55ml soured cream or full-fat natural yogurt
  • 20-25g wild garlic leaves, finely chopped
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 200g wholegrain spelt or other wholegrain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • a large pinch cayenne pepper
  • 20g cheddar, grated
  • 2 tbsp porridge oats

Method

  • STEP 1

    In a bowl or jug, mix together the buttermilk and soured cream or yogurt, and stir through the wild garlic until you have a green-flecked liquid. Heat the oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7 and line a baking tray with baking paper.

  • STEP 2

    Sift the flours, bicarbonate of soda and 1 tsp of fine sea salt into a large bowl and stir in the cayenne pepper and cheddar until combined. Make a well in the middle and pour in the buttermilk mixture, then use a silicone spatula or your hands to bring the mixture together into a sticky dough. If the dough is not coming together, add a small splash of milk.

  • STEP 3

    Lightly roll and squish the dough around the bowl to pick up any crumbs, then fold it over itself until it has a smooth-ish consistency. Shape it into a ball and handle it lightly so as not to overwork it – you don’t want to knead it much. Gently lift the dough onto the tray, then scatter the oats into the bowl and press the dough over the oats to coat. Lift the dough out of the bowl and onto the tray again, then flatten into a plump disc (about 4-5cm thick) using your hands. Score a deep cross, about 2cm down, all the way across the surface using a sharp knife – this will make it easy to pull into quarters later.

  • STEP 4

    Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the loaf is crusty, golden brown and hollow-sounding when you tap it on the base. Cool on a wire rack or serve warm with lots of butter and hot soup. Best eaten the day it’s baked – any leftovers can be blitzed into breadcrumbs for frying and topping pasta dishes or salads.

Head this way for our best bread recipes

cheddar soda bread
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