It may look like I have a bit of a craze for yeast-less bread going on at the moment, and that's because, uh, I have. Bread generally fulfills my baking urges, without me having to spend a small fortune on sugar, eggs and chocolate. And going for quickbreads or -today- soda bread saves me the whole waiting business that yeast involves.
Of all the urges to strike young people nowadays, I get baking urges. I'm practically a stone.
In my defence, I went to London for a couple of days at the weekend and managed to spend in that time what I usually spend in three or four weeks - as a result, this week, I resolved to curb my excesses a bit. Read: instead of buying drinks and going out on the razzle (people don't use that word nearly enough) I bought apple cider vinegar to make onion chutney and tried to tell myself it was a necessary purchase. It is now sat incongruously in our shared kitchen amongst tins of Asda Smartprice baked beans; I'm a little bit ashamed, but not enough to stop.
The good news (arguably) from your point of view is that, overwhelmed with goodwill and/or shame, I offer you two recipes this week! Calloo, callay, &c. &c.
Soda bread is the lazy baker's answer; it needs hardly any ingredients (although my recipe did just call for milk, and I thought buttermilk was a staple. Having bought vinegar anyway, I added a few drops to my milk to turn it into an acceptable buttermilk substitute. I'm just filled with such ingenuity), no yeast, no rising/proving time, bakes in half an hour... plus you get flatmates wandering into the kitchen, drawn to the smell of fresh bread, with looks of wonderment on their faces. Paired with Cheddar cheese and homemade onion chutney - the condiment you never knew you were missing, in the words of Eat Me, Delicious - and I have to admit my (half-sized) loaf was engulfed embarassingly quickly.
I'm now about to go to the gym, but that's nothing to do with anything.
Recipe from Easy Vegetarian by Ryland, Peters & Small.
500g wholemeal flour (I only had white)
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp cream of tartar (I left it out as I don't have any, and sometimes I like to leave out central ingredients. Just to mix things up, you know)
pinch of salt
25g butter, cut into small cubes
flour for dusting
Preheat oven to 180C (350F).
1. Sift (pfft) the flour, bicarbonate of soda, cream of tartar and salt into a large bowl, and rub the butter in with your fingertips. Make a well in the centre and mix with a round-bladed knife to form a soft dough.
2. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 4 minutes. Shape into a round loaf 15cm diameter and flatten the top slightly. Place on a lightly floured baking sheet and use a sharp knife to score a cross about 1 cm deep in the top of the dough, making quarters.
3. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes. Remove from the oven, and, protecting your hands with a tea towel, tap the bottom of the loaf to check it's cooked -if it's ready, it should sound hollow. If it doesn't, bake a few minutes more. Serve warm.
2 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp salt
1. Heat butter in a pan over medium heat and add onions. Saute until translucent. Add salt, chile flakes and coriander and continue to cook for 15 minutes (I didn't need quite this long). Add remaining ingredients and cook until the onions are very soft and creamy.