Recipe: Wild Garlic Soda Bread

It’s that time of year again folks: people are going bonkers for wild garlic. Us Londoners are making fools of ourselves scouring the tiniest patches of woodland, picking through sodden newspapers and train tickets, or having fivers wrestled out of our hands at farmers’ markets. Those of you in the sticks are laughing your jolly, garlic-scented heads off while tapping out pitying tweets about having a patch the size of a rugby pitch at the bottom of the garden. What is ‘garden’?

I’ve often wondered why wild garlic is so appealing. It’s not like we can’t get the same flavour – more or less – from standard issue, widely available garlic bulbs. I think it’s the colour, the greenness, the signal that this, finally, is spring. This year more than ever we need to grab fistfuls of pungent leaves and blend them into soups and pesto. We need to feel healthy and refreshed while still being comforted by that deeply satisfying flavour. That familiar allium honk.

Wild garlic comes before asparagus, broad beans and peas and it’s like a viridescent balm for chapped lips, windburned cheeks and pale skin. Plus, putting wild garlic in something instantly makes it more impressive, amirite? Take boring old soda bread – the least challenging of any loaf and so straightforward a child can make it (I imagine) – lob a load of leaves in there and now you have New Bread, Exciting Bread. It’s warm from the oven, ready to daub with butter and eat like no one is watching. Maybe no one is watching in which case, let yourself go. Several slices must be consumed before considering other ingredients. Once you get to that point, this is perfect with scrambled eggs and smoked salmon. I really recommend adding the dill, too, if you’re into it.

Wild Garlic Soda Bread Recipe

As a little side note, a mate said to me, ‘I think soda bread always tastes slightly fishy’ and I agree. Is this the bicarb? Who knows. It’s not unpleasant but it is definitely there. All the better for topping with smoked salmon, eh. 

300g strong white bread flour
200g whole grain (seed and grain) flour
400g whole live yoghurt
Large pinch salt
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
A large handful of wild garlic leaves washed and roughly chopped

Preheat your oven to 180C

Mix all the ingredients together until they form a shaggy dough. Knead for about 30 seconds, then form into a round shape on a baking tray. Cut a cross in the centre about 2/3rds of the way deep.

Place in the oven for 40-45 minutes – when it’s done it will sound hollow when you tap the base of the loaf. Allow to cool a little before slicing, otherwise the middle of the loaf will be sticky.

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  • Avatar
    Reply Sarah Moore April 9, 2018 at 5:22 am

    It’s the free food! I ran past loads of it yesterday which was the right decision, I’d stashed my stuff in a locker at the gym and only just made it back in time for closing. I’ll try to head back before the season is over. I picked loads on Devon last weekend so I’ve been eating it all week anyway.

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen Graves April 9, 2018 at 8:46 am

      I think it’s the fact it’s only around for a really limited time, too, so everyone just goes mad trying to eat as much as possible.

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    Reply Triona April 9, 2018 at 8:17 pm

    The bicarb does have an odd taste to it, and it’s rotten when there’s too much in your bread or pancakes. Sieving it to disperse it properly helps a lot, and using level teaspoons instead of rounded definintely reduces the taste (and hopefully not too much of the rise)

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen Graves April 10, 2018 at 10:33 am

      Someone also suggested adding a teaspoon of sugar which apparently counteracts the taste a little so I’ll try that next time.

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    Reply Torie from chilliandmint April 10, 2018 at 9:52 am

    Really lovely Helen. I adore both soda bread (for its ease to make mainly) and wild garlic. Heading to rolling countryside tomorrow to gather loads. Have just finished my batch of wild garlic pesto that I made last year and froze so need to start making more to last me through the year. Will make a load of this too as well. Watch this space.

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen Graves April 10, 2018 at 10:32 am

      Sounds like the dream Torie. I’ve stuffed it into a roast chicken, made lots of soda bread and have some in butter in the fridge. Pesto too, of course! So funny how we go crazy for it but I do love the flavour.

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    Reply AR April 11, 2018 at 9:00 am

    That’s a very creative use of wild garlic. Not too sure I’m keen on soda bread, but this article is inspirational. Keep up the good work, Helen. Long time reader of your blog since day one – always look forward to your posts.

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen Graves April 11, 2018 at 9:01 am

      Aww how lovely, thank you! FYI I made a load of wild garlic butter too and have just had it in a bagel with smoked salmon. V v good.

      • Avatar
        Reply AR April 11, 2018 at 9:17 am

        W/Garlic works well in a dhal (stirred in at the end when the lentils have cooked out) – something I read recently and tried this weekend. Must remember for next year : )

        • Avatar
          Reply Helen Graves April 11, 2018 at 9:19 am

          There’s still loads around! I can imagine it would be great in a dhal 🙂

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    Reply Holly January 2, 2019 at 3:47 pm

    Well this was RIDICULOUSLY easy!! (partner and I got into making proper sourdough after bread course in Jan 2018 – only thing I dislike is the stretch and fold…there’s a danger I’m going to convert to soda for the lack of much kneading/stretch/folding required!). V interested in the tips on counteracting baking soda taste as defo had a slight taste of it which isn’t as delicious…plus didn’t have any wild garlic (hello Londoner) so totally just shoved in chopped garlic, but added sunflower seeds and it was YUM anyway.

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      Reply Helen Graves January 3, 2019 at 10:07 am

      Isn’t it?! Easiest bread recipe ever. Nice work on the improv too! Us Londoners are so resourceful 😉

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    Reply Anita April 23, 2019 at 5:56 pm

    I have never made bread, my old man usually make it but I’m definitely going to start with this one!!

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen Graves April 25, 2019 at 11:39 am

      This is a super easy recipe so a good place to start!

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