This is the easiest bread I have ever made. You could make this bread every other day and barely blink an eye. The most difficult thing is keeping buttermilk in the house. Who does that? Not me. But maybe now I will.*
I made this bread 3 times in the last two weeks. The first time I made it exactly like the recipe, using all-purpose flour. The second time, I used some whole wheat flour. The third time I had some fun. Read on for details.
This week’s recipe is being hosted by Carla and Cathleen. Please read their blogs for the recipe. And if you want to read some of the other blogs participating in this Baking with Julia baking challenge, click here.
OK, so I loved the original recipe. The bread had a nice bready smell. (I was going to say yeasty, but there is no yeast in this). It was great plain or with some butter. We ate 1/2 of it and then froze the other half to eat a few days later.
The second time I made the bread, I used 1 cup of whole wheat flour in place of one of the cups of all-purpose flour. I did not like this version as much because it did not have the bready smell. It tasted ok, but I think I liked the first version better.
The third time I made the bread was this afternoon. I have been thinking about it for a few days and trying to come up with a way to stretch myself with this oh-so-easy recipe. I decided that sundried tomatoes would be a good addition, and maybe some salt and pepper seasoning on top of the bread. I once made a chicken pot pie from Ina Garten that used a sprinkling of sea salt and black pepper on top of the pastry. It was so delicious and made a real impact on the taste of the pie. I thought I would try it on this bread.
I rehydrated 12 sundried tomatoes by placing them in a bowl and pouring boiling water over top, then having them sit for about an hour. I also put a 1/2 a sprig of rosemary in for added flavor. (Not really sure how much flavor it added). Anyway, after that, I drained the water and rosemary out and chopped up the tomatoes into small pieces. I added these pieces to the flour, salt, baking powder mixture and tossed them around to coat. Then I added a scant 1/8 tsp of black pepper to the mixture to tie into the black pepper that I was going to sprinkle on top of the bread later.
After pouring in 2 cups of buttermilk and mixing and then kneading the dough, I formed it into a circle and placed it into a greased glass pie plate. Next I sliced the top with an X. Finally, I coated the bread with an egg/water wash and sprinkled it with fine sea salt and black pepper. This went into the oven for 50 minutes to bake.
The results were outstanding. It was the most beautiful Irish (questionable) Soda Bread I had made yet. The egg wash created a beautiful browning to the 4 quadrants. The tomato flecks were easily seen on the loaf and the pepper and salt provided more visual interest.
Once the loaf cooled a bit, we cut it and could see the tomato pieces flecked throughout. The bread was savory and sweet at the same time. It was delicious warm with butter. Definitely a heartier version of the earlier Soda Bread versions. Something you could eat instead of a meal. And it had a vegetable in it! My son did not know that when he gobbled it up. I should have gotten a picture of that one for the blog. Shoot. Anyway, it was super-super delicious.
So April’s recipes have been selected and first up will be Pizza Rustica. It looks like a deep dish pizza pie in the real pie sense. It should be fun. Check back later!
* You can buy buttermilk in a shelf-stable powder form. Although I have never used it, I have been told it has exactly the same characteristics as fresh buttermilk and acts the same in a recipe.