These herbaceous plants with jagged leaves and covered in stinging hairs carpet any landscape that’s left unkempt. The woodlands edge, banks of streams, dark corners of gardens and parkland are all places that nettles will thrive given half the chance. Luckily for us they are delicious and nutritious, and perfect in our quick and easy soda bread…winning!
Nettles have a plethora of uses in our kitchen.
We blanch them and add them to salsa verde, stir them through scrambled eggs or in this case we blitz them into buttermilk and use them as a base for our soda bread. If you want bread in a hurry, soda bread is ideal. Not only is it incredibly straightforward to make, there’s no real kneading involved. A great first loaf to make for novice bakers, as well as younger ones!
So don your finest marigolds and head out to your nearest patch and pick away.
We advise you to pick the younger nettles from the top of the plant, as they are less fibrous (and tend to avoid ones where the cocked leg of any dogs may have passed by!). Also, avoid picking nettles from wasteland or near to a road where lots of traffic passes, as they might have absorbed some pollutants (no thanks!). You can explore our guide to foraging here.
Good handful of young nettle leaves and/or wild garlic
½ pint buttermilk
170g / 6 oz self raising flour (wholemeal or brown)
85g / 3 oz plain flour
85g / 3 oz seed & grain bread flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
The Wet Ingredients
Gather your nettle tips (with gloves on) before they flower. Strip off the stems until you have enough for one large handful of leaves.
Heat oven to 200C/Fan 180/400F.
In a blender or large jug, add leaves and buttermilk. Blend until smooth.
The Dry Ingredients
Put the flour, salt and soda into a mixing bowl. Form a well in the middle and pour in the nettle buttermilk. Quickly mix together with a fork until a soft dough is formed.
Turn out mixture onto a floured surface, lightly need for 2 minutes then form into a round shape.
Put on a floured baking tray. Flatten the top of the dough and score the top in a cross.
Baking your Loaf
Cook for 30 minutes until the dough sounds hollow upon tapping. Leave the soda bread to cool on a wire rack.
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