Friday, March 16, 2018

Irish Soda Bread

I did some St. Patty's Day cooking with Jeff Rogstad on the local CTV noon show. Well, cooking is a bit of an exaggeration ~ there's no oven on the set. I baked an extra soda bread at home and Voila! Instantly done.

I left that one behind for Jeff to enjoy with the crew, then I took home and baked the dough we made on television. Everyone was happy.

This bread has chemistry: the baking soda is activated by the acidic buttermilk, giving rise to a simple traditional bread.

If you don't have buttermilk do this: put 2 tbsp plain white vinegar into a 2-cup measure, then fill with milk to the 2-cup mark. Stir well and let sit 5 minutes.

4 cups all purpose flour (or 3+1 cup whole wheat flour)
1 tbsp sugar (optional)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups buttermilk

1. Hold back 1/2 cup flour.
2. Blend the rest of the flour with the sugar, salt and baking soda.
3  Pour the buttermilk onto the flour. I like to pour it in a circle rather than in the middle of the bowl. Mix quickly with a fork and then with your fingers to incorporate the liquid. 
4. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead by hand just long enough to make a soft smooth dough that is no longer sticky, 1-2 minutes. Use the extra 1/2 cup flour as needed to flour your hands and prevent sticking.
5. Place the ball of dough on a baking sheet and press to flatten the top.
6. Slash the dough with a knife, cutting about 1 inch deep. If you do not slash deep enough, the centre of the bread may be uncooked.
7. Bake at 425F for 35-40 minutes. When cooked, the bread will be quite brown and a good tap on the bottom will sound hollow. Allow to cool down a few minutes before cutting.


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