Saturday, 3 September 2011

Number 28: soda bread

This may be a bit of a cheat as it also features in my photo scavenger hunt, but it is the first time I have made it so I am sneaking it in under the wire.

I am one of those annoying people who loves having fresh bread and regularly bakes my own. After bigging myself up, I then say in a tiny small voice, in audible brackets: (in a breadmaker).

Hmmm, not quite the same, is it... I just can't be doing with all the waiting around and faff with fresh yeast, and finding a warm enough place (we don't have an airing cupboard) for the thing to rise properly. So I've had a breadmaker for years and I think it's fab. It is almost worth it just for the smell of fresh bread in the morning.

I have been meaning to try soda bread because it has an instant-ness about it that should be perfect. No rising, kneading or waiting. Just mix, shape and cook. And in truth, that is just about all there is to it. It smells wonderful while it is baking too.

But the lesson is in the eating. Unless I did something very wrong, it is just a teeensy bit dry. In fact it has a texture a bit like stale scones, unless you slather it with butter. I imagine it is perfect to eat with soup. Has anyone else tried and am I making it badly?

The recipe I used was from the 'Encyclopedia of Bread' book:

Sift 2 cups plain flour and 2 cups wholemeal flour and 1 tsp salt into a bowl.
Add 1 tsp salt, 2 tsp bicarb of soda and 2 tsp cream of tartar.
Run in 3 tbsp butter and stir in 1 tsp sugar.
Add 1.5 / 1.7 cups of buttermilk (I used milk) and mix to a soft dough (don't overwork).
Put on a greased baking sheet and mark the top with a cross.
Bake at 190C for 35 - 45 minutes until well risen and hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Eat warm with butter and marmite!

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