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Spelt Soda Bread

Makes 1 large loaf

4 cups spelt flour (wholegrain)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven 450 F / Gas Mark 8 / 230 C

Pour flour into bowl, add baking soda and salt and stir with a fork. Make a well in the centre, add the buttermilk (a little less than full amount) and mix with fork or wooden spoon until the flour is all wet (adding the rest if need it). Don't kneed. Butter a loaf tin and pour it all in, cutting into it down the middle. Alternatively, you can pour it onto a floured board and form it into a round about 2 inches deep, and cut a cross onto it. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, then turn it down (400 F / Gas Mark 6 / 205 C ) and bake for another 30-35 minutes. I cover it when I turn down the oven to prevent the top from burning, with another loaf tin or a bit of foil.

You can check if its done with a toothpick or even a chopstick. It should come out clean.

Take it out, remove from tin, and let it cool. Yum!

Why Spelt Soda Bread?

Many people suffer from a wheat 'intolerance' - although not a true allergy, an intolerance can cause short term discomfort and long term health issues if left unchecked. The most common symptoms of wheat intolerance are bloating, weight gain, constipation, indigestion, flatulence and excess mucus production (wheat is a 'mucus forming' food). If steps are not taken to remove wheat from the diet and heal the digestive tract internally, eventually it can lead to other problems (fatigue, irritability, aggravation of arthritis, psoriases, eczema, asthma) as digestion itself is compromised. Refer to my healthy digestion article for more information.

Spelt is form of wheat which has been derived from an ancient grain and seems to cause less problems for most people. (Spelt contains gluten, so if you have coeliac disease and completely intolerant to gluten, its best to use completely gluten free grains (Corn, rice, potato, tapioca, amaranth, arrowroot, millet, quinoa). However, spelt is generally better tolerated in many cases when wheat is not, and can be used as a direct substitute for wheat in almost any recipe. Spelt is also a good source of the following nutrients:

  • manganese, phosphorus, vitamins B3 (niacin) and B2 (riboflavin), magnesium and fibre

Buttermilk is rich in calcium, potassium and vitamin B12. Its a natural (and non-sugary) source of friendly bacteria (probiotic), so it can sooth the intestinal tract. It can be used as a substitute for milk if there is lactose intolerance, as the lactose in milk is converted to lactic acid in buttermilk, making it easier to digest. Here are some others ways to enjoy buttermilk:

  • Add rock salt with roasted and powdered cumin, to a cold glass of buttermilk. You could also add mint leaves or coriander to it.
  • Substitute sour cream with buttermilk. Add it to dips or even salad dressings - it will add a tangy, slightly sour twist to your food.