March 20, 2016

We have been craving this delicious loaf for a few weeks now and so decided that we should make it and share it with you!
Last summer we decided to bake along with The Great British Bake Off, and bake one thing from each show every week. This recipe is a manchego cheese, prosciutto and caramelised red onion soda bread loaf by Alvin from bread week. It is the most amazing mix of flavours in one big yummy loaf and was the best thing we made from the series! Since it's soda bread, it doesn't use yeast and so it's much quicker and simpler to make than normal bread. This is the tastiest bread that we're yet to make and the smell is to absolutely die for! 

Here's what you'll need:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large red onion, finely sliced
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp soft brown sugar
450g/1lb plain white flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp table salt
30g/1oz cold unsalted butter, diced
80g/2¾oz prosciutto, torn
200g/7oz Manchego cheese, diced
small handful basil leaves, torn into small pieces
300ml/10fl oz buttermilk
1 tbsp butter, melted

First, preheat your oven to 200°C/180°C Fan/Gas Mark 6 and then line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

Warm the oil in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the red onions and stir. Then reduce the heat and cover with a lid and cook for 15 minutes. Add the vinegar and sugar, increase the heat slightly, and cook, uncovered, for a further 5 minutes. Then set this aside to cool completely.

Next, sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a bowl. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into flour mixture until it looks a bit like breadcrumbs.

The next step for us was to sit and have a cup of tea while we waited for the onions to cool a little more but feel free to miss that step.
Keeping back 1 tablespoon of the cooked onions, a small handful of cheese and a small amount of prosciutto for the topping, add the remaining onions, prosciutto, cheese and the basil to the flour mixture and toss to incorporate. 

In a jug mix the buttermilk with 25ml/1fl oz water. Then make a little well in the middle of the flour mixture and add three-quarters of the thinned buttermilk. Mix using a lightly floured hand or a table knife until it comes together into a rough but soft and sticky dough. Add a little more thinned buttermilk if the dough feels dry and won’t come together. We ended up using all of the buttermilk so don't worry if you need to do that too.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, roughly shape and then move onto the prepared baking tray. Flatten the loaf to about 4cm thick. Dust the loaf with a little flour and score the top using a sharp knife. Now, top with the leftover onions, prosciutto and cheese. 
Bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes or until golden brown. The original recipe only says for 35-40 minutes but both times we have made it so far it needs much longer than that. The best way to check that it is done is to check that the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the base. You will probably need to cover the loaf with some kitchen foil at around 40 minutes to make sure that it doesn't brown too much!

When ready, take the loaf out of the oven and move it onto a wire rack. We actually missed this next step as we were too over-excited and completely forgot! But you should now brush the loaf generously with the melted butter and then leave to cool before eating.
This bread is delicious with or without butter (or any topping at all really!) and we think it would be perfect if you're having family and friends round over the Easter weekend!
Please leave a comment and tag us on our new Instagram 'sharkettsisters' if you give this tasty bread a try!
Don't forget to follow us on Bloglovin'!
See you soon!
Love, Antonia and Imogen

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