I ran out of yeast some time ago, and still haven't been to the shops, so there's still no yeast lurking here, which has me trying out various quick breads and yeast-less recipes. I came across this old Irish soda bread in a couple places online and in the cookbook How to Cook Everything. I think it was actually invented when there was a shortage of yeast or when that product became too expensive. There's a brilliant concept to this humble bread: the fizzy chemical reaction that takes place when mixing baking soda and vinegar actually serves to help the bread rise. This, by the way, is the same reaction I take advantage of while scrubbing the kitchen sink!
My first loaf came out looking...well...let's just call it rustic, shall we? Here's a shot of its good side:
(Okay, it really doesn't have a good side).
I still have much to learn about making bread, but that doesn't stop me from trying. Even the worst looking bread tends to taste just fine, and if all else fails, it can always be made into breadcrumbs!
Here's what I did, based on a general idea/mishmash of recipes, in case you want to give it a try:
~makes 1 round loaf
4 Cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 Cups whole milk, warmed
1 1/2 Tablespoons raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar
1. Combine milk and vinegar. Set aside a few minutes
2. Combine the rest of the ingredients
3. Add the milk mixture a little at a time, until the dough comes together, but isn't too sticky. You may not need all of it (my leftovers went to the chickens!)
4. Knead the dough for a few minutes until it's elastic and somewhat smooth, but resist over-kneading. Shape into a round loaf and make an "X" on top using a sharp knife
5. Bake at 375 degrees F on a warmed pizza/baking stone for 45 minutes. The bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped
6. Cool completely before slicing
We enjoyed wedges of this bread toasted in the oven, drizzled with a little olive oil and rubbed with a garlic clove, eaten alongside spaghetti.
Looks better this way, right?
Are you trying new (old) things this new year, too?