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Gill Bland

Baking with children. Make your own lunch.

Posted by Gill Bland Monday, 22nd September 2014

This month I thought I’d bring you a recipe that’s great for getting the children in your life enjoying the kitchen as much as you do.


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Whether you’ve got children of your own and have just re-started the daily packed lunch production line, or are just temporarily taking the role of small-person supervisor and want an easy activity that has the added bonus of resulting lunch, this recipe is ideal. You’ll have the benefit of knowing exactly what your darling one is eating and they can get all nice and messy mixing and kneading the bread with their hands. You could even add spices, nuts, dried fruit, or other ingredients to jazz it up. I once had a lovely cinnamon spiced soda bread with dates and walnuts in it. I suspect that version would be more popular with the more mature section of the family though, especially if accompanied with some good cheese and wine! 


You may be amused to know that while the recipe doesn’t involve any chopping and is therefore really quite child safe, I manage to slice my finger when slicing the loaf. Oh dear – maybe I’m the one who needs a babysitter.


Soda Bread


Basic Soda Bread

You can vary how wholemeal the bread is depending on taste preference and the liquid element of the recipe is fairly flexible, as long as it is acidic -  I’ve given you a few options so that you can make use of whatever is lurking in the fridge. Because soda bread benefits from being eaten sooner rather than later I’ve used quite small quantities but you can easily scale it up. This recipe makes one melon sized (the galia / cantaloupe ones) loaf.


  • 120g wholemeal plain flour
  • 120g plain white flour

       OR 240g plain flour  in total, split however your small person prefers – if they only like white, use all white.

  • Pinch salt
  • 1 tbsp runny honey (not essential)
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 135ml whole or semi skimmed milk + 1tsp lemon juice (see below for how to prepare in advance)

      OR 135ml buttermilk

      OR (last resort) 4tbsp natural yoghurt mixed with milk to make up to 135ml



  • Preheat oven to 200c or 180c fan.
  • If you are using milk and lemon juice, heat the milk for1 min in the microwave until hand warm. Add 1 tsp of lemon juice, stir and leave to stand for a couple of minutes.
  • Either pre-measure the ingredients and ask your little baker to put it together or…
  • Measure out the flour, bicarb and salt into a large bowl – the larger it us the easier you can get hands into it.
  • Add the honey into your milk liquid
  • Make a well in the centre and pour the liquid into it.
  • Grownups: Using a wooden spoon gradually combine the flour into the milk bringing in from the edge each time until it comes together.
  • Kids: Stick your hands in (washed) and squeeze the mixture around until you have a big blob.
  • Now take it out of the bowl and knead on a flour surface for a minute or two until it’s smooth.
  • Make it into a ball shape and use the handle of the wooden spoon to make a cross shaped indentation in the top.
  • Grownups: you may decide that you’d rather reserve a bit of dough to make their initials and use some water to stick it on the top. Or you could do lots of diagonal line. The cross is traditional.
  • Place on a floured baking tray and bake for 30min until the top is golden and it sounds hollow when you tap the bottom.
  • Now you can slice it for sandwiches or soldiers, or just tear chunks off it a dunk it in soup. 


Soda bread


As always, you see more ways in which I’m using my Rangemaster Elan 90 by going to I am currently attempting every technical bake challenge on the Great British Bake Off. 

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