I realized that I haven’t made any bread yet, which is unlike me because I love bread. I love eating it, I love dipping it, but more than anything, I love making it. There’s something very loving and ritualistic about baking bread that amuses me.
I’m aware that most people don’t actually want to spend half their day nurturing a blob of dough, which is why there are alternatives! Obviously, you can just buy some bloody bread and call it good, but that’s sissy talk. There’s an amazing book that I was given by someone very dear to me called, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. It is the answer to all your bread prayers if you’re someone with little time to spare for baking. I can’t recommend this book enough. You get yeast-risen dough in half the time and only a fraction of the work. The other option is to make bread that doesn’t use yeast at all. Instead, it uses bicarbonate of soda. Also known as quick-bread, there is no wait time for this. Make it, shape it, bake it, eat it. Easy.
The bicarbonate of soda reacts with the acid in the buttermilk and pushes the dough up and out, making it rise. If I could compare it to anything, I’d say it has more of a biscuit-like texture happening inside. A delicious, crunchy, biscuity bread. Yes.
This recipe is a page out of Paul Hollywood’s book of expertise on all things bread. I imagine if there were a bread god, he’d be it. I’ve spiced his traditional recipe up with some herbs and cheese and to be honest, there’s hardly any left. Its almost shameful consdiering I made it only an hour ago and I’m the only one home. Carpe diem.
P. S. If your interest in bread stops here, well done, and enjoy your soda bread. If you’re looking for something more challenging, stick around for a fruity brioche bun in the near future.
SODA BREAD (base recipe by Paul Hollywood)
250g plain white flour
250g plain wholemeal flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 T. fresh chopped thyme
1 t. chopped garlic
1/2 of an onion, diced
About 400ml buttermilk
390° F / 200° C
- In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients.
- Form a well in the middle of the mixture and pour in most of the buttermilk.
- With your hands, combine the ingredients into a uniform dough. If the mixture feels too dry, add more buttermilk.
- Once combined, dump the dough out onto a floured surface and gently bring it together into a circle, pushing it down to form a large disk (about 7-inches).
- Place on lightly floured baking stone and score it into quarters by cutting deep into the bread, but no all the way through. Dust with flour.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes until it is golden brown and sounds hollow when you tap it.
GOAT CHEESE SPREAD:
85 g. goat cheese
2 T. cream
1 T. olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 T. grated parmesan
1/4 t. salt
1 t. fresh rosemary, chopped finely
- Combine all ingredients by hand, in a mixer or food processor until smooth and creamy. Optional: Place in a dish and drizzle with olive oil and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Top with a sprig of rosemary.