A bit of a science lesson

The intention was to make some soda bread as a nod to St. Patrick’s day but I got completely and utterly sidetracked by Dan Lepard’s Saturday recipe in the Guardian for  carrot and sesame bread.  The recipe is a normal bread recipe (strong white flour, yeast, warm water) but with the addition of two grated carrots, a handful of sesame seeds and the juice of about one and a half oranges. The orange juice is there to provide some vitamin C, with actual scientific purpose this time rather than in a vain attempt to avoid a cold.  Vitamin C is used as an additive in bread making since it helps in the gluten producing process, making a stretchier dough which should help the mixture to rise. Boy does it, I have never made such a successful loaf. It rose when it was supposed to and turned out in a real bread shape, with a lovely springy texture, perfect for sandwiches during the week. There’s a slight hint of carrots but nothing too sweet and the sesame seeds add a good crunch. Highly recommended.

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I did get round to my soda bread too, because this is the easiest bread in the world to make, no pesky yeast or kneading or rising. Just four ingredients; flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda and buttermilk (it’s the reaction between the last two which creates carbon dioxide which makes this bread rise).

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There’s been some debate between the Irish men and women of my acquaintance as to what soda bread actually is, whether it should be a wholegrain loaf full of roughage or a lighter, white, fluffy entity. I’ve aimed for the latter here, using all plain flour but it turned out a bit more rough and ready. To make you mix 450g of flour, a teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of bicarb and stir in 400ml of buttermilk by hand. Then shape into a round loaf sort of shape, cut a cross in the top (to let the devil out. There’s science for you.) and bake on a floured tray  for 15 minutes at a high temperature (240C) before lowering the temperature and cooking for another 30 minutes (200C).

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We had ours with a delicately green soup and next to some daffodils in a desperate pretence that it is actually spring time.

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2 thoughts on “A bit of a science lesson

  1. mrsjon3s

    Have you made flat breads? I watched Paul Hollywood make one at an Indian restaurant in last weeks programme – it looked amazing especially when filled. I would love to try that one!

    Reply

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