I like the idea of baking bread. It brings to mind this ethereal vision of a kind of super women angel female figure, one who has everything under control, has completed a whole day’s business efficiently, all the while having a beautiful loaf browning in the oven.
Alas in real life this is not the case. Usually when I make bread it seems to consume my whole day. This does NOT make me feel like a picture of efficiency. The opposite, it makes me feel pathetic. I am sure if I persevered and perfected a good rising/kneading system I might be like my mother and pop loafs out every other day. But then she has a bread machine.
The other thing about bread baking is that the times when I am really inspired to produce a loaf of fresh bread, such as in conjunction with making a pot of soup – there is not enough time! Not enough time for the kneading, rising, kneading, rising regime that is.
And so I started dabbling in soda bread! Soda bread uses soda instead of yeast, and therefore is ‘instant’. You can just mix all of the ingredients together, and pour into a bread pan and place into the oven.
So if you are making a soup or stew, and suddenly decide you want to pair it with some hunks of freshly baked bread, bob is your uncle. Or in this case, soda.
Because soda bread does not provide for any time for the gluten to soften and make it sticky, soda bread calls for an egg or two. I have been upping these eggs or two, because I want to make a bread where I can use white flour, but end up with a little more protein and a little less flour. It works well!
The other trick I use when making soda bread is that I do not use buttermilk, I use regular milk and vinegar. I know you can make a buttermilk hack by combining the milk and vinegar together and letting it stand for 20 minutes. But I find my method (if banging together can be called a method) works fine too. The reason why soda breads calls for buttermilk is because buttermilk being sour milk is acidic. The acid reacts with the baking soda and causes bubbles and more rise in the bread!
Taste wise I must warn you, soda bread does not have the yeasty taste that other breads have. So if you are looking for sourdough – do not make this recipe. The taste reminds me of scones actually! Especially with the added eggs.
OK, in brief, here is what I do. I beat the eggs in bowl. I then add the milk and continue whisking. Then a pinch of salt, and pinch of sugar, and the vinegar. I combine this, and then add the vinegar. Bubble and fizz. I quickly mix in the flour and turn the dough/batter into a greased bread pan.
This goes into the oven at a medium high temperature and comes out again in 35 minutes. Yay!
Oh, one last thing. I usually take a small baking pan and fill it with a few ice cubes. This I place a few rungs under the bread. I read that it allows for… a better crust. I think that the moisture from the steam allows for the bread to rise and not be constricted by the crust. Something like that.
UPDATE: I forgot the ice cubes when I made this bread yesterday, and the weirdest thing happened! The one side of the bread bulged up like you wouldn’t believe, and the side stayed flattish. So I definitely think that this trick with the ice cubes allows the bread to rise without the stiffening crust constricting it.
Last Minute Soda BreadPrint This
- 3 cups of white all purpose flour
- 5 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 heaped teaspoon of baking soda (not baking powder, that is harmful to the body)
- pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Whisk eggs in a bowl. Add the milk and continue to whisk
- Add the sugar, salt and vinegar and mix.
- Add the baking soda.
- Add the flour.
- Pour into a well greased bread tin.
- Bake at a medium high heat for 35 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.
- Remove from the bread tin and allow to cool on a wire wrack.