In Series 6 (Netflix collection 3) episode 3, the bakers faced BREAD WEEK! The signature challenge of the episode had the bakers making two flavors of quick bread. Any quick bread of their choice.
If you are unfamiliar with quick bread, the basic run down is this: quick bread is bread leavened with leavening agents other than yeast or eggs.
The most common quick bread I've ever encountered? Soda bread. Pretty much all the bakers in this episode made a variant of soda bread.
I'm lazy and going to follow their example. I also made soda bread.
What even IS soda bread, you may be asking! Soda bread uses baking soda as the leavening agent. It comes together quickly and bakes immediately, which means it's a beginner friendly bread.
It's also great if you want fresh bread with your dinner and you only have an hour before dinner is on the table. Considering I am a bread FIEND this is not the sort of forbidden knowledge I need in my life. But here we are.
In keeping true to form, I pulled up Paul Hollywood's Soda Bread recipe.
I also decided to be #dedicated and do two flavors, just like the bakers on this episode. But if we're being honest, I just wasn't happy with how the first loaf turned out. So I made a second one the next day.
Heat the oven to 200°C/400°F.
Put the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda into a mixing bowl, then stir in the buttermilk and mix to combine to a soft dough.
Tip out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and quickly shape the dough into a ball.
Flatten the ball slightly and place it on the lined baking tray. Use a metal skewer to cut a cross in the top of the bread, almost down to the base (but without cutting all the way through).
Bake the loaf for 30 minutes, until golden brown and the base sounds hollow when tapped. Transfer to a wire rack to cool before slicing.
I recommend adding the liquid a little bit at a time. I found the amount in the recipe to be a little bit too much, leading to a dough that is a little too wet for what the end goal is - and this is supposed to be a bit of a wet, sticky dough.
This dough will be very sticky. But you should still be able to shape it and gently flatten it into the loaf shape you want.
Work quickly once you have added the liquid to the dry ingredients. Whether you're adding buttermilk or beer or something else, when the baking soda begins to react to the acid in the liquid you want to get it into the oven ASAP.
Also, y'all. I probably still had too wet of dough. Even on my second attempt I could not get a good cross cut design in the loaf. It still tasted damn good when taken out of the oven, but it did NOT look like Paul Hollywood's soda bread. It didn't look like any professional looking classic soda bread.
It tasted good. Whatever. The tagline of this blog is what it is for a reason. ;)
Soda bread is quick and easy to make. You get the pleasure of baking your own bread without the finicky fuckery of yeast. As someone who enjoys baking yeast bread, I still love the simplicity of a quick soda bread. Sometimes I just don't have the timing right to make a yeasted bread.
Working quickly is key, but be aware of how much liquid you're adding. I mentioned that I wasn't happy with my first soda bread earlier in the post. Part of that is because I added all of the liquid at once, and it wound up being too much liquid.
When I made my second batch, I added the liquid in three batches. It allowed me to better gauge what was happening with the liquid in the dough and determine if I needed to hold off on adding all of it.
The dough will be sticky. Annoyingly sticky. Coat your hands in oil or water and try to get the dough onto the baking sheet without keeping half of it on your palms - sticky.
Also, soda bread is best the same day you make it. You can toast it the day after and it is still all right, but it doesn't do super well for the long term.
This is another reason I cut the above recipe in half. There are two of us in this household. We don't need that much bread in our lives in a single day.
I still ate the majority of each loaf. Because I am a bread fiend and what even is self control? #TreatYoSelf #QuarantineBreadNoms
Have you made soda bread before? How did it turn out?
Is there a particular bake you're looking forward to seeing me tackle? Let me know below!