Every year I say I’ll make something for St. Patrick’s Day and I never do. Last year the most I did was put a few drops of green food colouring in beer. I’m happy to say that I finally made soda bread, something that has been on my to bake list for awhile. And the bread was almost as simple as adding food colouring to beer. Honest.
This version of soda bread is souped up and deviates from tradition with the added butter, whiskey soaked raisins, and sugar. If you like the taste of scones or biscuits, then you need to try this bread. And don’t skip making the Irish whiskey butter, it really adds something to the bread.
I think I may also have gotten drunk off of the whiskey fumes — it was pretty strong! I usually shy away from raisins being in baked goods, but I didn’t mind them in the bread. I would probably omit them next time just for simplicity.
With all the bread baking I do, I have never made a loaf of white bread. There are many more interesting breads to make than something so…plain.
My tastes have changed since I was a kid and would refuse to eat whole wheat bread. Rye, pumpernickel and whole wheat are one of my top bread choices nowadays. If I buy white bread it’s usually destined for breadcrumbs.
This is the Basic Soft Sandwich Loaf from The Bread Bible. If you do enjoy white bread, you’ll like this bread. It’s very buttery and when toasted it has a crumbly crisp nature to it. This would be a fabulous sandwich bread for tea sandwiches of the sort. I usually look for a heartier bread so I don’t think this recipe will make it on my routinely bread baking schedule.
Unfortunately I can’t find the recipe online. But if you’re a bread fan, you should get this book anyway. The only downside to this book is that there aren’t many whole grain breads.
I’ve been wanting to make challah for the longest time. The last time I had it, I was in a synagogue with my then boyfriend celebrating his brother’s bar mitzvah.
This is the first bread I’ve made in a long time since the disaster that hit my unit. It felt nice to have the smell of fresh bread coming out of the oven. This challah was from The Bread Bible and it is a dairy challah which is a brioche. I made a huge batch of this bread and the challah was huge. Here’s my hand for comparison:
I forgot to cover the bread with foil so it came out with a deep deep brown colour and thankfully it didn’t burn. I’ll have to re-visit brioche again and make a smaller loaf — this one was just too big for 2 people.
Working my way through The Bread Bible looking to try a new recipe I came across beer bread. It looked interesting and it was a “quick” bread (no sponge overnight). I used Rickard’s Red for the beer. The dough is very soft and it was easy to shape into a boule (which I haven’t mastered so they all look misshapen). It browned really quickly, about 15 minutes in so I had to cover it with aluminum foil so it wouldn’t burn.
There’s no beer flavour and the bread is nice, but Movie Man and I agreed we probably wouldn’t make it again. Mainly because we only stock good beer, and because the recipe uses almost a whole bottle, it becomes a pricier bread.
With our new panini press, I thought a nice Italian bread would work so I tried the Ciabatta from The Bread Bible. Ciabatta is a very wet dough and as the paddle was whirring in my stand mixer I wondered if this gloopy thin dough would turn into bread. The dough is supposed to triple within 2 hours and it took me almost 3 for mine to triple. My place is cold and I thought a mug full of boiling water would help. I’m sure it would have taken 6 hours if I didn’t have the hot water.
I used wet hands to work with the dough so the it wouldn’t cling to me. Inverting it was a bit tricky as it’s a very soft dough but I managed to throw it down on my Silpat. You’re supposed to push the sides together so it’s at a width of 4.5 inches. I’d try to push it into place and then later during the rising it would spread. I think it’s probably from working with wet hands and a slick surface. I think it might hold it’s shape if it was on a different surface. When I went to check to see if it was done, there was a nice shatter of crust when I stuck my digital thermometer in.
Mine came out 1/2 an inch flatter as it’d spread when I tried to push the sides of the dough up. Through some Googling it seems this ciabatta is big favourite of many people. It’s got a nice crispy and chewy crust and the crumb is very light. We’ve eaten about half of this bread already! In the book it says unbleached all-purpose flour is better than bread flour because of the lower protein content. Canadian unbleached all-purpose flour is supposed to perform like bread flour, so I’d like to try this again with bleached flour and see what the difference is.