Two Soda Breads for the Price of One
Traditional Irish Soda Bread
I believe bread isn’t bread unless you bake it yourself. Eat the junk offered in supermarkets? Well, that’s asking for trouble and wastage. Commercial bread these days is actually dangerous for human consumption.
Having ranted and raved, I now feel better. So let me tell you about two soda breads you can bake, but if brushing your teeth in the morning is too much trouble? Then baking this soda bread will take too much time as well. Really folks, this is no time waster, considering what you get in exchange for store bought.
It’s all done in a crock pot (slow cooker). I told you, no problem. Kneading? Also no kneading… It’s getting better right? OK. Here goes. Put your soda bread in the crockpot, bake while you’re at work and eat it when you get home. See! Simple! And it’s real food, not just filler and mold.
Hang on! You say your crockpot has no timer? And actually, I think all crockpots are timer-less. Now being inventive like my husband says, you plug your crockpot into a timer plug. Yes, the timer plug switches off when the soda bread is cooked. Voila! As the French would say and your problem is solved while you’re at work. And in two hours – while you’re working – you have wholesome fresh soda bread to come home to.
It must be good… even the Irish eat it. And you should know that the crumb on this bread is perfect and makes an excellent toast. Also considering how long store bought bread lasts compared to these loaves, the economics of homemade has got to win, seeing how commercial bread goes moldy, even in the fridge.
A downside of the crockpot soda bread is no dark crust, which doesn’t bother us. The crust is firm but pale, so you can remedy that with a blow torch or the oven. If you work, this will give you an excuse for hot bread and a brown crust when you get home. Also, if you like bread hot-off-the-press, you can delay your cook to start two hours before you get home.
Real Soda Bread
This soda bread recipe comes from the Irish gold prospectors of the Bushveld region, from the later part of the 1800’s
The “real” Bushveld Irish soda bread consists simply of whole-meal (whole-wheat) flour, baking soda, salt and buttermilk, as the miners would have done it. Adding an egg and some butter will lighten and tenderize this bread. The craggy crust on this hearty loaf makes it hard to cut into thin slices, so use a serrated knife to cut. You get awesome toast from this bread. I make my own three fruit marmalade with whiskey and it’s a real treat on soda bread.
3 ¾ cups whole wheat or brown bread flour (we get organic flour from Robertson, Western Cape)
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter
1 large egg
1 ⅓ cups buttermilk or whey (No whey? Mix 1 ⅓ cups whole milk with 1 Tblsp organic apple cider vinegar–let stand 10 minutes)
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Using a pastry fork or your fingers, cut in the butter until evenly distributed with no lumps.
In a separate bowl or jug mix the buttermilk and egg, add to dry ingredients and mix. The dough will be stiff; if it won’t come together add another tablespoon or two of buttermilk or whey.
Place the dough in a foil lined crock, cover with the lid and switch on to “High” Bake for 2 hours at this setting or until a toothpick comes out clean. When you have made your first soda bread loaf, you will know how long the next loaf will take without toothpick testing – for your timer settings.
Soda Bread Using Oats
Healthy Oat Soda Bread
Butter and flour a 2 lb (900 gram) loaf pan – makes one large loaf
2 C wholemeal flour
1 C self-raising flour
1 C breakfast oats (not instant)
½ C wheat germ
½ C all bran cereal
2 tsps bicarbonate of soda
2 tsps sea salt (Himalayan)
2 tsps molasses
1 large egg
2 ½ C buttermilk I never have this (mix 2 ½ cups whole milk with 1 Tblsp organic apple cider vinegar – let stand 10 minutes)
Mix the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the middle. Beat the egg and the buttermilk together and add. Mix together with a fork or spoon until most lumps are incorporated and you are left with a slightly sloppy dough. Spoon this in to your prepared pan and give it all a good shake to level. Bake at 190 C or 375 F for 50 minutes to an hour depending on your oven. Turn out and let cool on a cake rack. This doesn’t get very cool at our house…just barely warm and fresh out of the oven; it makes the most wonderful base for a lunch of cheese and pickles, or a rustic pate, or just serve it with butter to accompany a big pot of fragrant country soup. Very yummy…