- 450g (1lb) plain flour
- 1 level tsp caster sugar
- 1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 350-425ml (12-15fl oz) buttermilk or sour milk
- Preheat the oven to 230°C (425°F), Gas mark 8.
- Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour in most of the buttermilk (leaving about 60ml/2fl oz in the measuring jug). Using one hand with your fingers outstretched like a claw, bring the flour and liquid together, adding more buttermilk if necessary. Do not knead the mixture or it will become heavy. The dough should be fairly soft, but not too wet and sticky.
- When it comes together, turn onto a floured work surface and bring together a little more. Pat the dough into a round, approx. 4cm (1½in) deep and cut a deep cross in it.
- Place on a baking tray and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, then turn down the heat to 200°C (400°F), Gas mark 6 and cook for 30 minutes more. When cooked, the loaf will sound slightly hollow when tapped on the base and be golden in colour. I often turn it upside down for the last 5 minutes of cooking. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
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