Sunday, March 18, 2007


Confession time: I am addicted to making bread BUT I am not the world’s best breadmaker. Do I let this stop me? Not a bit of it. My worst errors I toss or make into breadcrumbs (after my little hounds have had a tiny treat). My semi-failures I use while still warm and fresh (nothing like that just-out-of-the-oven smell and taste to improve a poor loaf!) and cut up the rest for croutons (after my little hounds have had a tiny treat). My successes (other people’s failures) we happily gnaw our way through and actually prefer to bread from any bakery. Then I go on and make more bread.

The one excuse I offer: I use ONLY wholewheat flour - not half and half wholewheat with unbleached all-purpose or such combination that I know is a sane choice. The loaves are naturally denser than they might otherwise be. My yeast breads are fine - nothing to blush about there - and my quickbreads likewise except on very rare occasions.

That said, I had a couple of very doubtful (let you figure out where they fit into the scheme of things above) loaves from the oven yesterday. Sourdough and Irish Soda Bread. First . . .

I made this on a whim (it was Paddy's Day, after all) and - although I hadn’t made it without baking powder ever before - decided to combine two recipes I found on the net. Prescription for disaster. It was, however, an interesting experiment - and it tasted fine, just a bit on the dense side.

I used the following ingredients:

2 cups wholewheat pastry flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt (this turned out to be too much for us)
1/2 cup raisins
3/4 cup soy milk (low-fat)
1 Tbsp vinegar

I mixed the lot as you’d expect, turned the soft dough out onto my floured bread board, kneaded it for a few minutes until it felt ‘right’, shaped it into a round, let it rest a few minutes, and popped it onto a flat pan and into a 375F oven for 30 minutes, forgetting to slash the top (I DO keep forgetting to do that for some reason).
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It came out as a strangely shaped little loaf that was very dense in texture and very good in taste. I shall work on this one.

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