Leave it to me to postpone and be late with the one bread we Babes bake that takes 1 hour from weighing the flour to hot on the table!
Anyway, here we are and look at that! Rustic, lovely crust and a lovely crumb as well. This is the one Ilva had us bake up for the month of July.
A White Irish Soda bread with herbs. (In my case: sans herbs because I forgot to add them). Rising agent is baking soda (yes, that’ll be me, I’m quite the rising agent you know). The liquid in this bread is buttermilk to help the baking soda along. (In my case it’s half and half yoghurt and milk because I was fresh out of buttermilk).
This is what I was supposed to do (and what you’ll need to do to earn that grand Buddy Badge!)
WHITE SODA BREAD WITH HERBS from The Ballymaloe Bread Book by Tim Allen
450 g/1lb plain white four
1 level teaspoon salt
1 level teaspoon bread soda, finely sieved
1 dessert spoon each of rosemary, sage and chives, all freshly chopped
400 ml/ 14 fl oz buttermilk
Heat up the oven to 230 degrees C/450 degrees F
Sieve the flour, salt and bread soda into a large, wide mixing bowl. Add the freshly chopped herbs to the dry ingredients.
Make a well in the centre. Pour most of the milk into the flour. Using one hand with the fingers open and stiff, mix in a full circle drawing in the flour from the sides of the bowl, adding more milk if necessary. The dough should be softish, not too wet and sticky.
The trick with all soda breads is not to over-mix the dough. Mix the dough as quickly and as gently as possible, keeping it really light and airy. When the dough comes together, turn it out onto a well-floured work surface. Wash and dry your hands.
Gently roll the ball of dough around with floury hands for a few seconds, just enough to tidy up. Then pat it gently into a round, about 5 cm/2 in high.
Place the dough on a lightly floured baking sheet. With a sharp knife cut a deep cross in the middle of it, letting the cuts go over the sides of the bread. Then prick the four triangles with your knife: according to Irish folklore this will let the fairies out!
Put this into your preheated oven for 10 minutes, then turn the heat down to 200 degrees C/400 degrees F for a further 25 minutes, or until cooked. When the bread is cooked it will sound hollow when tapped.
- Have to admit I was a little apprehensive. I have baked soda bread before and although I love the process, the crust and the crumbly interior -especially with soup- there ‘s that faint smell of baking soda. And the taste! At the same time that I was enjoying the bread I could taste chemicals. Not good.
The first bite, bread still luke warm, and there it was. Baking Soda taste and smell and I thought Lien, I’m with you! No genetic stuff, we’re not related ;-) and cilantro tastes fine to me.
Strange enough I do like the bread, had a slice this afternoon with a bit of butter and jam. Nice!
- This recipe produced the best rising results and the airiest crumb that I had in soda breads.
- Baked the prescribed 10 minutes on 230C and then used the steam plus oven setting for the remaining 25 minutes on 200C. Great result.
Thanks Ilva for bringing Soda Bread back in my head again!