So this morning I went to slice some bread for toast and discovered there was none to slice. Sometimes when I get busy I focus on the job at hand, ignoring other things around me. It didn't register with me that when I made a sandwich for lunch yesterday, I used up the last loaf of bread. I didn't want to take time this morning to make regular yeast bread, so I dug out a recipe I've been meaning to try. Irish soda bread. No yeast. Minimal kneading. No waiting for the bread to rise. Perfect.
Irish Soda Bread
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup raisins, if desired
3/4 cup buttermilk
*Note: If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, a fair substitute is to add 1 tsp. lemon juice to each cup of regular milk, wait 3-5 minutes, then use wherever buttermilk is called for.
Heat oven to 375ºF. Grease cookie sheet.
Cut butter into flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt in large bowl, using pastry blender, until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in raisins and just enough buttermilk so dough leaves side of bowl.
Turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Knead 1 to 2 minutes or until smooth. Shape into round loaf, about 6 1/2 inches in diameter. Place on cookie sheet. Cut an X shape about 1/2 inch deep through loaf with floured knife.
Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with butter or margarine, softened, if desired.
Legend has it that the X cut into the top serves to ward off evil spirits. I cut in the X. I'm taking no chances!
I am not fond of buttermilk so I always use the lemon juice method substitution for baking. I may have to see if I can find some powdered buttermilk to keep on hand. Keeping fresh milk requires trips to the grocery, so I use powdered milk for everything except drinking.
The Irish soda bread turned out great. It is heavier than yeast bread - kind of a cross between bread and biscuit. Or maybe like a crusty artisan bread. At any rate, it works for toast in my little toaster oven, for sandwiches and for just plain eating with a meal. Some add raisins to the recipe, but I wanted it for use in place of a yeast loaf. I may try it with raisins the next time I make it. Soda bread isn't something I would make on an every day basis, but it served my purpose for quick bread to last until I make regular yeast bread tomorrow morning.
I love it when a plan comes together.