Thursday, 16 June 2011

The Bread Baking Babes make White Soda Bread with Herbs!

It's the edge of summer and the kids are tumbling out of school. The perfect time for a quickie bread! Irish soda bread is perfect for crafting a quick loaf for dinner as you don't have to wait for yeast to wake up and rise.

This one is delightfully summery with the addition of fresh herbs from the garden, I served the bread with a Niçoise salad for dinner. Don't forget the butter! Irish soda bread loves to be slathered in a bit of salted butter. It's kind of like a giant biscuit.

If you would like to bake along with the Babes this month: Ilva is the hostess with the mostess this month and she says to bake it, blog it and send her the link ( luculliandelights  AT gmail DOT com, put Bread Baking Buddy in the subject line please) before the 28th of June and she will include you in the Buddy roundup on the 29th (hopefully, it might be a little later because she's in Milan working that week - lucky lady!)

White Soda Bread with Herbs
from The Ballymaloe Bread Book by Tim Allen

1 loaf

450 g/1lb plain white four
1 level teaspoon salt
1 level teaspoon bread soda, finely sieved (baking soda, bicarb of soda, etc.)
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.

*I dropped my oven temp to the 400° just as I put it in, also I took it out a few minutes early as my oven tends to run hot.  
**I managed to miss the smooth it out part, but I like the rocky landscape. ☺

 The Bread Baking Babes