Sunday, March 20, 2011

Irish Soda Bread

Before I made the Herbed Cheddar Soda Bread recipe from Chatelaine magazine, I wanted to make this one after seeing Ina bake it on her show a number of times of course, I always watch her reruns!.  I'm just thrilled with the results and, for once, I didn't tweak *anything* about this recipe!

The recipe is in Ina's "Barefoot Contessa at Home" cookbook and here's the link to her site.  If it disappears at the end of the spring when Ina changes the recipes, drop me a line and I'll send you the ingredients:

Ina's Irish Soda Bread

I know I enjoyed it so much because it's flavoured with my favourite citrus, orange, and the end result isn't heavy as you might expect from a soda bread.  The house smelled wonderful while it baked and I enjoyed two slices with my raspberry orange jam that I made on Canada Day last year.  Then I took the dog for a walk to work it off. ;)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Send Bakerella some good vibes

I discovered Bakerella last year - the inventor of the very popular "Cake Pops", which led to her book by the same name.

I noticed last week that she hadn't updated her blog since around Valentine's Day and a few days ago she posted what's going on in her life.  I'm sending her all the good karma I can for a speedy recovery - she's much too young to be this ill.

Bakerella - Twelve Days

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Herbed Cheddar Soda Bread

I decided this weekend would be a good time to try this recipe from the March issue of Chatelaine magazine, especially since I still had buttermilk to use up after making the red velvet cupcakes.  The shredded cheddar was also in the frig and I had good intentions of going out to buy whole wheat flour for this recipe.  After waking up to 10 cms (that's 4 inches) of snow and no ploughing on the side streets, I decided to try the recipe using all white flour instead.  Hey, when don't I tweak a recipe?

Since this recipe uses baking soda and buttermilk, which are leavening agents, it doesn't need yeast to rise.  The recipe called for two 8 by 4 inch loaf pans - the size used for small fruitcakes - which I don't current own.  I asked The Baker to check her pans and she reminded me she'd given me a bread loaf pan, which is long and narrow.  I think it used to be called a "Pullman Loaf" pan.  The amount of dough from this recipe filled the pan very nicely to 2/3 height, allowing for room to rise.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1-3/4 cups whole wheat flour (see my note above on changes)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 cup (1/2 a stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1-1/2 cups coarsely grated cheddar (I increased this to 2 cups)
1-3/4 cups buttermilk

Position oven rack in bottom third of oven.  Preheat to 400 degrees.  Spray loaf pan with non-stick oil and set aside.  Alternatively, you can also line the pan with parchment paper.  In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients and mix slowly until combined.  Add butter cubes and mix until they are the size of peas and the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Stir in cheese slowly.  Pour in buttermilk and stir until just combined.

Transfer dough to well-floured surface and form loaf.  Place in prepared pan and bake until top is golden brown, 35-45 minutes.  Remove to wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.  Run knife around the inside edge of the pan, then turn out loaf and allow to cool completely.

I think we're going to have this tomorrow night with homemade minestrone for dinner.