When Sourdough Surprises announced that we were making soda bread this month, I knew it would be an easy challenge for me and knew right away that I wanted to make Za’atar Soda Bread. Soda bread is one of my favorite ways of using up my discard when I feed my starter. To make it, I start with my favorite recipe and subtract half of the weight of my starter from the liquid and flour in the recipe. So, for example, if I have 4 oz of starter I subtract 2 oz from the flour and 2 oz from the buttermilk.
There isn’t a lot of sourdough flavor to this soda bread as it is a bread that is ordinarily leavened with baking soda and gets baked right away instead of fermenting and rising like ordinary bread. However, it is a tasty and satisfying loaf. To jazz it up a little this month, I added some za’atar seasoning to the top before baking. Za’atar is a mixture of sumac, sesame seeds, salt and dried herbs. The seasoning on the bread was good and it went really well with the spicy African Peanut Soup we were having for dinner.
- 4 oz (113g) sourdough starter (unfed)
- 14 oz (397g) unbleached all-purpose flour; more as needed
- ¾ tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. table salt
- 1-1/4 - 1½ cups (10.6 oz/302g - 12.75oz/363g ) buttermilk
- 2 Tbsp. Za'atar seasoning
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. line a baking sheet with parchment.
- Mix together the flour, soda and salt.
- Stir in the sourdough starter and 1¼ cup of the buttermilk and stir just until combined. If it needs more moisture, add more buttermilk 1 Tbsp. at a time.
- Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface and pat into a round about 6¾" wide and 1½" tall. Press the Za'atar mix gently and evenly into the top.
- Transfer the bread to the lined baking sheet.
- With a thin, sharp knife, score a cross on the dough about ¼ inch deep and extending fully from one side to the other.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 400°F and bake until the bread is browned and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom, another 20 to 30 minutes.
- Cool to room temperature on a rack, about 2 hours, before slicing and serving.