DARING BAKERS’ CHALLENGE- IRISH SODA BREAD

DARING BAKERS’ CHALLENGE- IRISH SODA BREAD

The thing I like about the Daring Bakers’ Challenges is that you are always on this roller-coaster ride, one month you are in “mode excess” baking a sweet, oozy caramelly dessert, the next you are thrown into the unknown world of gluten free baking and just when you have got to know your gluts from your gluten you are baking an Irish Soda Bread !! Whew!!

Blog-checking lines:  For the month of September Meredith from the Poco Loco Olsons challenged us to experiment with soda bread.

image

Folks, this is so easy, that a novice baker, with no experience whatsoever can put it together in a jiffy and turn out smelling victorious, without breaking a sweat. Its a few simple ingredients, dumped in the bowl, liquid in, a hefty stir to bring it all imagetogether, a mix with your hands so that you feel like you have laboured, pat it down and shove it in the oven……that’s it! Its really so quick.

The bread relies on chemical reactions between baking soda and the acid in buttermilk (sour milk),  these two merry chemicals combine and act as leavening agents, eliminating the need for yeast. The baking soda, because of its alkanity hastens the browning process adding colour and flavour.

image

Please note, you can use this recipe to lecture your teen on the chemistry involved (at your own risk 🙂 ) and pray that he is interested in the process more than the end result.

According to Meredith, the host of the challenge, soda bread wasn’t invented by Irish bakers. In fact, the credit for using soda to leaven bread goes to the Native Americans, who used pearl ash to help their breads rise. Over the years, the Irish people have made this delicious treat their own. Traditionally, Irish soda bread can be white or brown, sometimes contains raisins, and often has a cross in the top of each loaf.

image

In the original recipe posted by Meredith the flours used are whole wheat and all purpose flours in the ratio 1:2. I wanted to add a little more character to my bread so I have cut down on the white flour and used a cup of Pearl wheat flour and millet (mixed). I have added some rosemary, dried sage and watermelon seeds ( leftover from last month’s challenge). Sage (ajwain) was a masterstroke and in some bites the almost spicy, sharp flavour enhanced the bread’s taste. The bread came out super fragrant, rustic looking, like it was baked in the Flintstones’ kitchen. The crumb crisp and the inside chewy and flavourful. The flavours seemed to be better a few hours later and we enjoyed it toasted in a pan with butter.Surprisingly, though the chemistry lesson didn’t go down well with Mr.13, the big chunks heavily buttered seem to have no trouble.

RECIPE

Irish Country Bread

Servings: 1 large loaf (about 12 large slices)

Ingredients

2½ cups (625 ml) sour milk or buttermilk

2 cups /300 grams whole wheat flour

3 cups all-purpose (plain) flour

1 cup mix of pearl wheat flour and Millet flour (optional, you can use all purpose flour instead)

1 teaspoon (6 gm) salt

2 teaspoons baking soda

Herbs of your choice ( I used 1 tsp sage, 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to hot 230°C/gas mark 8 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Mix the dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.
  • Add the herbs and half the seeds, leaving the rest for topping
  • Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients.
  • Pour the sour milk/buttermilk into the well.
  • Mix the dough until the flour is completely incorporated. Knead the dough by hand a few times while it is still in the bowl to make sure all of the flour is incorporated before moving on to the next step. The dough will be sticky and rough.
  • Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet.
  • Pat or roll the dough into a circle shape that is approximately 1 inch (2½ cm) thick.
  • Using your fingertips or the blunt end of a wooden spoon handle, make several dimples in the top of the dough or cut a cross on the top with a knife. Sprinkle the remaining seeds on top of the loaf making sure they stick on.
  • Place the baking sheet on the middle rack of the preheated hot oven and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to moderately hot 200°C/gas mark 6. Pull the baking sheet out from under the dough, so the parchment is directly on the oven rack. Bake for 10 more minutes or until the top is golden brown.cut a cross on the top with a knife
  • Place the baking sheet on the middle rack of the preheated hot oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Reduce the heat to moderately hot 200°C/gas mark 6. Pull the baking sheet out from under the dough, so the parchment is directly on the oven rack. Bake for 10 more minutes or until the top is golden brown.

Advertisements

One thought on “DARING BAKERS’ CHALLENGE- IRISH SODA BREAD

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s