Monday 21 April 2008

Baking Bread

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I've grown up with my mother regularly baking bread at home. She mainly bakes plain white loaves, which fill the house with an amazing smell and taste wonderful as they come out of the oven. I would happily eat a few slices just as they are, not even needing butter or anything else to top them. You can ask my friend C., she'll agree. We used to joke that she could smell my mother's bread at the other end of the village, as you could be sure she'd be around on bread baking days (and no there was no kind of schedule or regularity for her to plan her visits to).

Even though I don't think I ever baked bread with my mum, I obviously was around a lot when she did and maybe that's why I never had a fear of yeast and happily bake anything with it in. I know a lot of people are put off by baking with yeast though (honestly, don't be, just give it a try), but that doesn't mean you can't have fresh bread made in your own kitchen. If you don't like baking with yeast or don't want to or can't hang around waiting for proofing and dough rising, try baking a soda bread. There's no yeast in sight and it still makes your house smell wonderful and you get that satisfaction that comes from taking a beautiful loaf of fresh bread from the oven.


Soda Bread (makes two loaves)

3 cups plain white flour
3 cups wholemeal flour (You can use just just white flour if you prefer. If you do 2 1/2cups of buttermilk should be enough.)
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 - 2 3/4 cups buttermilk

Preheat your oven to 190C/Gas 5.

Mix all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Add the buttermilk, starting with 2 1/2 cups and mix into the dry ingredients. If you are using both, brown and white flour, you might need to add up to 1/4 cup more to bind the flour.

The mix will be a bit lumpy and not too sticky.

Turn it out onto a floured surface and kneed it for a minute or so until well combined, it stops being lumpy.

Divide into two and form round loaves with a flattened top.

Place on a non stick baking tray.

With a sharp knife slash a cross into the top and rest for ten minutes.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, until golden brown. If the loaves are done they will sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Any homemade loaf, yeast bread or not, is best eaten fresh on the day you bake it. If you want to store it though, I find the best way is to cut it into slices as soon as it is cool, wrap it in freezer bags and freeze it straight away. That way you can take the required portions out of the freezer as and when you need it. The slices defrost in less than half an hour and taste pretty much as fresh.


Nic said...

That looks so crusty! I usually use yeast in my bread so it's nice to see an alternative.
Great tips on how to store/freeze bread.

Peter M said...

All bread should have a crust like this. I sometimes freeze bread too but as a whole loaf.

Rosie said...

This is one stunning soda bread you have here!! Just look at that perfect crust - it makes me want to reach in and take a chunk to eat now :)

Rosie x

Maria♥ said...

Sylvie your soda bread looks incredible and I love home-made bread, nothing beats it!


Jan said...

That bread looks good! I have never tried soda bread - I must have a go.

Sylvie said...

Nic, I usually do yeast breads too, but soda bread is great if you want a quick fix.

Peter, I also freeze whole loaves, but freezing slices means I can just take out two for a sandwich and return the rest to the freezer.

Rosie, I wish I could send you a chunk.

maria, I agree, home-made bread is hard to beat.

Jan, have a go if you like soda bread. It's so easy.

Deborah said...

I have never made soda bread, but it is on my list of things I want to try! Your loaf looks great!!

Maggie said...

There is nothing that beats the smell of bread baking.
The soda bread looks delicious. Have to confess that I haven't made this before.

Anonymous said...

Sylvie, your bread makes me think "There's no place like home...there's no place like home...".
And I can even SEE and HEAR our friend C. running to your house, haha!

Marie Rayner said...

Great looking soda bread Sylvie! I love soda bread, it's almost instant satisfaction without having to wait hours and hours for it to rise!

Kelly-Jane said...

Soda bread, mmm I really want to make some now!

Suzana Parreira said...

Now there's something I couldn't possibly live without: bread. I'm still to bake Soda Bread.

Deborah said...

I can say I've never had pasta with just ketchup, but I'm willing to try everything at least once! I think this recipe sounds fantastic.

Deborah said...

I just noticed I left that comment on the wrong post! That was supposed to be for the pasta sauce!

Sylvie said...

Thanks to all of you for your lovely comment.

Anke, C.s Nase funktioniert auch heute noch! ;)

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Ah, an old favourite of mine. I've never made it, strangely enough, but my father used to make some just about every weekend when I was a kid. Delicious - nothing like it!

Anonymous said...

Ah, soda bread! Delicious.