Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Irish Eyes for Soda Bread

Surprise! It's me again, so soon. So soon.
I thought I would share a little creation that I adapted from Noreen Kinney's "A Baker's Odyssey." My dearest friend in SF tried the recipe yesterday, so it was only natural for me to try it today, and on St. Paddy at that… HA, can you BELIEVE how that worked out?

This recipe is super easy, as you only must mix the dry ingredients with the wet, and there is no yeast involved. It comes together in a matter of minutes. Do you know what that means for me?It means that I made two loaves AND two batches of tomato jam with all my spare time. Good golly think of all the free time.

I took the liberty of substituting (from the og recipe) regular granulated sugar for honey, adding bee pollen for pizzaz and pumpkin seeds for that bit of green kick.

Irish Soda Bread
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour, plus more for shaping
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup wheat bran
1/4 cup oat bran
1/4 cup untoasted wheat germ
2 tablespoons flaxseed
2 tablespoon bee pollen
1/8 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 large egg
Appx 1 3/4 cups buttermilk

Adjust an oven rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 425°F. Coat a heavy baking sheet with vegetable cooking spray or line it with a silicone baking pan liner or aluminum foil.

In a large bowl, stir together the all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour. Add the butter and work it into the dry ingredients with your fingertips until the fat particles are very fine.

Stir in the baking soda, salt, honey, wheat bran, oat bran, wheat germ, flaxseed, and sunflower and pumpkin seeds and bee pollen.

Beat the egg lightly with a fork in a 2-cup glass measure. Add enough buttermilk to come to the 2-cup line and stir with the fork to combine well. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until the dough gathers into a thick, wet-looking mass.

Sprinkle your work surface with whole wheat flour and scrape the dough onto it. Dust the dough with a bit more whole wheat flour. Pat the dough into a circular shape about 7 inches across and 2 inches high and transfer it to the prepared baking sheet. Make a cross-shaped indentation on top of the loaf going right to the edges. I used my offset spatula and pressed it into the dough very gently; don't actually slash the dough. During baking the indentation expands, giving the top of the loaf an attractive pattern.

Bake the bread for about 35 minutes, until it is well browned and sounds hollow when rapped on the bottom. You will smell the nutty aroma wafting out of the oven when it's done. Cool the loaf on a wire cooling rack, and serve warm or at room temperature. Cut into quarters and slice each quarter with a sharp serrated knife. Delicious with butter, jam, tomato jam….and of course, cheese! I enjoyed mine with some Beecher's cheddar.

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