Friday, 4 March 2011

last minute bread...

    .... Hooopppsss! You forgot to buy any bread and there is no way you can now make it in time to the shops? Surely, this does not happen only to me!!! LOL !!!
   Any way, no probs. Just over half an hour and, I promise, you'll be able to put fresh bread on your table....

   Of course, the secret is Irish soda bread  which, by not making use of natural raising agents, needs no time for dough rising.  In fact (surprise, surprise, given the name), in place of yeast or starters it uses baking powder.
   Now, I'll be honest, it is not the most fragrant of breads. That's because, missing the process of natural proving, the dough has no chance to develop those rich yeasty smells that are normally released by freshly baked loaves. However, it has a pleasant enough texture - especially when consumed quickly, in my version is completely fat-free, and, basically, looks pretty good.  Particularly when your are using it to cover up for an oversight....

Ingredients - for a 500g loaf
250 g plain - all purpose - flour
250ml buttermilk *
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 220C°
In a bowl, mix all the dry ingredients and add the buttermilk. Mix quickly with a spoon to form a rather coarse and sticky dough. Turn onto a floured board and knead quickly, for no longer than 30 seconds. The dough should be left to look lumpy and irregular.
   It will not be too easy to handle because rather on the thin side, but move it gently to a baking sheet lined with grease-proof paper. Sprinkle with a little flour and score the top in a cross shape.
   Bake for 45 minutes or until it sounds hollow when knocked on its bottom.
   If you want a softer crust, the experts recommend you wrap it up in towel to cool. Up to you...

* Note for the buttermilk: here we go again, another one of those things virtually unknown where I live which force me to a lot of lateral thinking (the list is quite long: sour cream, verjuice, even plain, boring cream cheese!!!)

This is how I solve the problem: to 250ml of plain milk I add the juice of half a lemon. When the milk begins to curdle you'll have your buttermilk substitute.

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