So, my third favourite holiday after my birthday and Thanksgiving is St. Patrick’s Day. Don’t ask why, but it is. It’s a pretty big deal here in Sydney, especially since 60% of the people The Runner and I know are Irish (as in actually from Ireland) so it’s a fun day out.
Like all holidays, I like to get into the spirit with food and as I’m home alone tonight, I thought baking would be a good idea. I’m going to attempt Irish Brown Soda Bread. I’m not a bread baker by any stretch of the imagination (unless you count Jiffy Cornbread…..yum, cornbread) but I’m going to give it a shot! The Runner’s mother makes a really yummy Brown Bread that he goes crazy for, in fact she probably made a batch 10 out of the 15 days she was here a few years ago. I’ve tried it once before, and, well, I’m sort of surprised that I’m attempting it again.
I’m using the Irish Brown Soda Bread recipe from the blog Food52, (Click here for the recipe), not that Food52 is particularly Irish- in fact it’s not Irish at all, but let’s have a little bit of optimism….. if all else fails, I did buy a 6 pack of Guinness, so if it’s really bad I might just pour him a Guinness and hope that stops the flow of complaints. Anyway!
The recipe involves kneading which puts me off slightly but I’m going to power on. It only has three steps, so it can’t be that hard….I hope. Oh, funny story, apparently Kosher Salt doesn’t exist in Australia. I went to Woolworth’s to buy some and the guy looked at me as if I had two heads. I had to spell it, re-spell it and then we went to the Kosher food aisle while he rubbed his head trying to figure out what I was on about. I bought sea salt flakes instead….
So first, I pre-heat the oven (duh!) to about 220C. It’s supposed to be 425F so I’m approximating….I still don’t understand why the whole world doesn’t use Farenheit or Celsius, just pick one- seriously!!
I cover a baking sheet with wax paper– it doesn’t actually say to do this but I think it might make clean up easier in the long run, and as I already have gotten flour all over my top, I figure saving clean up time might be a good idea later.
I combine 1 1/4 cups of plain flour with 1 cup of wholemeal flour ensuring that I will not be having any of this bread since it’s full of gluten! I put in 1/2 cup of wholegrain rolled oats and then I’m supposed to put in 1/4 cup of toasted wheat germ….. how do you toast wheat germ???
Thanks to Uncle Google I realise I have to pop it in the oven for 5 minutes. So I pour it out into the measuring cup and accidentally pour way too much, I knew this would get messy.
Necessity is the mother of invention so I make it work. By the way, wheat germ has a very burny smell when it toasts….. hopefully I haven’t burnt it but……hmmmm. I put the baking soda and salt in and then leave it to Barbie (my KitchenAid mixer to mix).
I think have to cut in 4 tablespoons of cold butter. Back to Google, “How much does 1 tablespoon of butter weigh?” Anyone?? Anyone???? If you said 14g, you’re correct! So I need to add about 57g of butter to my dry mix. I actually cut it into pieces before using Barbie to mix it.
The recipe says to use my hands or two forks or a food processor, but I think Barbie will be fine…..ok, small point about how lazy I’m feeling right now. I’ve been measuring everything with the 1/4 cup measurement, because it’s Sunday night, I’m slightly hungry and it seems like the right thing to do right now. However, the butter thing seems like a bit of a gamble, I may have gone too far. But it’s too late, and I’m not going to let the fact that the song “Trouble Trouble” by the Potbelleez be an omen. It will be ok, this bread WILL work!
I add 1 cup (well 4 1/4 cups) of buttermilk and let it mix. YAY, it looks like dough! I put on Barbie’s dough hook (naughty again) and let her work with it for about a minute.
Then I roll it into a ball and flatten into a shape that is something between a 7in round (? what the recipe says) and a flattened chicken. I make an X in the top, or a cross, since I’m praying that this bread doesn’t kill anyone. A sprinkle of flour (and hope) and into the oven she goes for 30 minutes….
So…. it’s done, I can’t taste it because it’s not for me, but it’s out of the oven…. The Runner’s away until tomorrow, he’s just cycled 10hours and 21 minutes up and down three mountains. He’ll be back tomorrow and the bread will be waiting for him, when he gets here….. I just hope it tastes better than it looks!
Either way, I think I’ll be getting the authentic recipe from The Runner’s Mum in May!