3 cups (450g) all-purpose (plain) flour, plus extra for dusting
1 teaspoon superfine (caster) or granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
1 teaspoon salt
1 to 2 cups (350 to 425ml) buttermilk or soured milk
1. Preheat the oven to 450F (230C/Gas mark 8).
2. Sift the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in most of the buttermilk, leaving about 1 cup (50ml) in the measuring cup. Using one hand with your fingers outstretched like a claw, bring the flour and liquid together, adding more buttermilk, if necessary. Don't knead the mixture, or it will become heavy. The dough should be soft, but not too wet and sticky.
3. When the dough comes together, turn it onto a floured work surface and bring it together a little more. Pat the dough into a round about 1 inches (4 cm) thick and cut a deep cross in it. Place on a baking sheet.
4. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn down the heat to 400F (200C/Gas mark 6) and bake for 30 minutes more. When done, the loaf will sound slightly hollow when tapped on the bottom and be golden in color. I often turn it upside down for the last 5 minutes of cooking. Allow to cool on a wire rack.