Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Ethnic Diva: Soda Bread Redux

Come closer, I want to tell you a secret ... I like bread. I don't just like it, I love it. It is a love that knows no bounds ... well, with the exception of Wonderbread and the like. I have standards. Not much of a secret, huh? Well, then here's another ... I baked this loaf solely as an excuse to slather it with Kerrygold butter.

Hearty Brown Bread:
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup of steel cut oats, such as McCann's Irish Oatmeal*
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 tsp. of honey
Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees F and lightly butter a 9 inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, combine the whole wheat flour, whole wheat pastry flour and steel cut oats. Stir with a wire whisk to mix thoroughly. Add the salt and baking soda and whisk again to combine well. Add the buttermilk and honey, then stir with a wooden spoon until the buttermilk is fully incorporated and the dough has formed. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and kneed gently, approximately 12 to 15 turns.

Place the dough into the prepared loaf pan and press slightly so as to fit the dough to the pan and into the corners. Bake in the middle of a pre-heated 400 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until light golden brown. The finished bread will sound hollow when the bottom is tapped. (Mine was finished at exactly 30 minutes.) Do not over-bake. Remove the finished loaf from the pan immediately and wrap it in a clean tea towel (dish cloth) - this will ensure that the loaf will not harden as it cools.

As written this recipe will yeild one loaf.

*You must use the steel cut oats in this recipe, not rolled oats. And, yes, you use them raw. Don't ask me why, just know that its OK. The oats will not be hard, but they will add a marvelous, chewy texture to the bread.

This is another variation of Irish soda bread and its perfect for those who wish to eschew the more traditional, butter laden variety. I encountered this bread several times on my last trip to Ireland and for the life of me I couldn't figure out what gave it that nutty, chewy texture. Somewhere on that trip I bought a copy of the Irish Baking Book by Ruth Isabel Ross, and finally I had my answer. This recipe is adapted from that book.

The bread is so simple, so hearty and delicious, its become one of my all time favorites. It takes all of five minutes to prepare, yet tastes like you've spent the day crafting it. As a vehicle for the spectacular Kerrygold, it excels ... but don't just take my word for it, get in the kitchen and get baking!

Bon appetit!


Tracy said...

Hehe! I love the fact that you would make bread just so that you could eat butter... love it! I don't blame you, though. At least the bread is wholesome and full of whole grains... you can feel good about that.

doggybloggy said...

my kind of girl....anyone who will create reasons to eat butter is alright in my book...

Sass said...

My mom and I view many things as a "vehicle for butter."

I so love that you are the same way.

Anonymous said...

Agreed! Butter for bread is reason enough to bake. Especially if there will be lashings of butter. Lashings...

Anonymous said...

Yum - the fresh bread sounds wonderful and oh, so good with Kerrygold butter (it's the best!)

Heavenly Housewife said...

Oh god, I so know what you mean about bread. For me, I love anything thats got a crusty coating :), especially French baguettes. As for the butter, have you ever tried sea salt butter? It is soooooooooo good.

stephchows said...

mmm so easy and it looks so tasty!

The Diva on a Diet said...

Tracy - I've been good with the bread and still have some left ... surprise, surprise!

doggybloggy - we're two of a kind ... the delicious kind. ;)

Sass - I might have said the same to you. We are so on the same wave-length today!

Duo - lashings! The perfect term for this post. Well done!

5 Star Foodie - the Kerrygold is too good, far too good. I need to move some of it to the freezer post-haste.

Heavenly Housewife - I adore any kind of salted butter ... and, you're right, the sea salted is especially good. Yum!

Steph - easy, tasty and very healthy ... if you skip the slathering, of course. LOL

The Blonde Duck said...

I'm going to try this! Ben loves bread and is trying to watch his weight...

And what is bread other than a carrier for butter?

words words words said...

Despite the fact that I have to buy two kinds of flour, steel-cut oats, and buttermilk, I am totally making this.

words words words said...

I forgot to ask, are you a salted or unsalted girl?

Cookie Brochette said...

Mmmm, I love bread, too. It's really just a holder for the butter.

Carol said...

This sounds (and looks) absolutely fabulous. I'm on a no bread diet at the moment, but I'm still having bread every now and then on special occasions. Hey, a girl cannot live without bread right? So this will be next on my list of things to make, this weekend I'm thinking.

The Diva on a Diet said...

Blonde Duck - let me know how you like it ... and I hope you do! This really is a healthy bread, as long as you watch the toppings.

Words Words Words - I'd be delighted if you were to make the bread. :) And then you can enjoy the rest of the lovely oats for breakfast.

For the record, I'll eat either kind of butter, but I'm a total salt girl. Mmmm, salt.

Cookie B. - you could bake yourself up a tiny little loaf of it ... ya know, use a couple of tbsps. of flour! LOL

Carol! So lovely to see you here. Thanks for stopping by. Technically, I'm not supposed to be eating much bread these days either ... but ... well ... ;)

Tangled Noodle said...

Luvluvluv brown bread! I would rather have a loaf of this than a full Irish breakfast. I have all the ingredients except WW pastry flour - I know what I'll be doing tomorrow morning!

Daily Spud said...

Soda bread (well any bread) does indeed exist as an excuse to eat Kerrygold - doesn't everyone know that? As to oats in soda bread, well yes, yes, yes everytime.

The Diva on a Diet said...

Tangled Noodle - I should have mentioned that you can substitute all-purpose flour for the whole wheat pastry flour in equal measure. I just prefer to make an all whole wheat version.

Daily Spud - yes, yes, yes to the oats. They're magical. :)