Kneading the dough is a good activity for little hands. This simple soda bread gives faster results without the need to wait for a rise or two.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tbsp brown sugar or honey
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 large egg
2 cups buttermilk or thin plain yogurt
grated zest of an orange
i cup dried fruit: raisins, currants, cherries, chopped apricots, dates, figs or a combination
extra flour or oats, for kneading
milk, for brushing (optional)
coarse sugar, for sprinkling (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
2. In a large bowl, measure and stir together all the dry ingredients – the flours, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Make a well in the middle, with Mom’s help.
3. In a medium bowl, crack the egg and whisk it together with the buttermilk and orange zest, then add it all at once to the dry ingredients. Stir with a spatula until it’s about halfway mixed, then add the dried fruit and stir until you have a soft ball of dough.
4. Sprinkle the countertop with flour or oats and gently knead the dough, folding it over itself about 10 times, then shape it into a ball. Transfer to a baking sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick spray and if you like, brush the top with milk and sprinkle it with coarse sugar.
5. Cut an “X” lightly on the top using a sharp serrated knife.
6. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until it’s golden and sounds hollow when you tap it on the bottom. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 1 loaf. Cut into wedges to serve.