Thursday, 20 November 2008

Bread Basket-case

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
300ml milk
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.

Onion Chutney
Recipe from Rebar: Modern Food Cookbook, via Eat Me, Delicious

2 tbsp butter
2 yellow onions, diced
1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp red chile flakes
1 tsp dried coriander (I'm not a coriander fan, so I used dried thyme. It was, you know, green. Close enough).
1 tsp brown sugar
4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp cracked pepper

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.


Anonymous said...

It looks lovely butttt


also. I still demand some sort of food package.

and. why were you in London?

love you muchly, tell me if the HSM songs sent x

Finla said...

The bread looks so yummy delicious

Anonymous said...

Looks delicious!

Lori said...

Looks yummy. I can see why it disappeared quickly.

Razzle, not a word we generally use here in the states, other than razzle dazzle, glitzy kind of stuff. Clue me in!

Anna said...

Lori - I don't think razzle is generally used by anyone in the past forty years or so XD. We use it for glitzy type stuff too, but (and this might just be my friends) also like 'going out on the razzle' or 'out on the town'. I think we're showing our insanity there, haha.

Anonymous said...

Sorry...but i'm irish...i make that bread every week! (my own recipe, of course) It's WHEATEN bread...not soda!

Clumbsy Cookie said...

That's the lazy people's dream bread!

Anna said...

Anonymous - I thought soda bread was any recipe in which bicarbonate of soda was used as a raising agent rather than yeast?
According to Wikipedia (which I realise is a tad redundant against the testimony of an Irish person, haha):

Soda breads are made using either wholemeal or white flour, with the former known colloquially as "brown bread" in the Republic of Ireland. In Northern Ireland the wholemeal variety is known as "wheaten bread" and normally sweetened, while the term "soda bread" is restricted to the white savoury form normally served fried.

Whatever it is, it's good, haha. Sorry, and thanks for the correction!

Deborah said...

I'm a bread addict. I can't get enough. And both of these recipes look amazing!

grace said...

gym shmym. give me more bread. :)

Anonymous said...

Soda Bread! OMG ANNA it's like your replacing your irishness you get from me with fooood!

And random irish person yes there is such a thing as Soda Bread AND Wheaten Bread....Wheaten Bread is BROWN!

AND Moomin darling...the nicest soda bread is cooked on a gridle and not in the oven...a frying pan can sometimes be used but it isn't as effective...

BUT OMG how nice was it?!?!

I have an even simpler recipe somewhere for soda bread..but my recipe book is in Bristol...hmm I'll come back to you with that one.

But YAY in case you haven't noticed I have gone INSANE! I've had the flu for a week and a half and so am at home sleeping lots and lots!

Love you long long time

Your Nirish Friend :P

Anonymous said...

Good! I'm not the only one with baking urges! Haha
The bread looks delicious!

The Blonde Duck said...

That looks lovely! I love that!

Half Baked said...

Your bread looks great and with that onion chutney it looks divine!

test it comm said...

That looks like a nice way to enjoy fresh bread!

Rosie said...

Beautiful bread Indigo bravo!!

Oh yes Razzle,I love that word lol :)

Rosie x

Anamika:The Sugarcrafter said...

Hi indigo
thanks for passing by my blog..i love your posts. they are innovative and i loved them..nice fresh bread smell overpowers the urge to dieting.

Anonymous said...

I love the onion chutney, what a great topping for a great soda bread!
I'm gonna add this as an appetizer for my next party!

Happy Belated Thanksgiving to you!

Anonymous said...

looks so yummy! very delicious.