250g plain white flour
250g plain wholemeal flour
100g porridge oats
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt
25g butter, cut in pieces
*Note that this is a type of quick bread and the rise comes not from yeast, but from the carbon dioxide produced from the reaction of baking soda and the acid in buttermilk or yoghurt (lactic acid) or lemon juice and milk (citric acid). Kneading or heavy handling would knock this out, so be gentle! You can use buttermilk, or natural yoghurt or milk with a good squeeze of lemon juice in it (a couple of tablespoons should suffice in this recipe).
Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/400°F/gas 6 and dust a baking sheet with flour (alternatively bake in a floured pie dish or round cake tin). Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl, then rub in the butter. Pour in the buttermilk and mix it in quickly with a table knife, then bring the dough together very lightly with your fingertips (handle it very, very gently). Now shape it into a flat, round loaf measuring 20cm/8in in diameter.
Put the loaf on the baking sheet and score a deep cross in the top. (Traditionally, this lets the fairies out, but it also helps the bread to cook through.) Bake for 30-35 minutes until the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. If it isn’t ready after this time, turn it upside down on the baking sheet and bake for a few minutes more.
Transfer to a wire rack, cover with a clean tea towel (this keeps the crust nice and soft) and leave to cool. To serve, break into quarters, then break or cut each quarter in half to make 8 wedges or slices – or simply slice across. Eat very fresh.
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