Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Finding My Inner Lady Baker

Unlike Holly Flax from The Office I'm pretty sure I have not baked on a professional level.

If you've ever tasted my baking you would understand why. Once I tried to make cookies in a toaster oven - and not my industrial size all purpose convection toaster oven that I own now. When I realized how little dough my puny store bought mix of cookie dough made I then decided it was a good idea to throw in some peanut butter for good measure. Make that soynut butter. That's all I had. Then I figured I'd better throw some extra flour in there to make it the right texture. And some more baking soda to make up for the extra flour. You get the picture.

I hope that I never have children who demand fresh chocolate chip cookies hot out of the oven because they will be sorely disappointed. I'm hoping that my chicken pot pie will be enough to make up for my lack of baking skills.

In an ideal world, however, I would have the time and the equipment to turn out freshly baked loaves of bread. We had a bread machine growing up and it was one of the most under rated pieces of kitchen equipment we owned. Long story short, I've been forever searching for a bread recipe that is manageable. Anything requiring use of a stand mixer is out as are most yeast breads. By chance, I stumbled across a blog that featured a lovely "Black Pepper Rosemary Soda Bread." I'd always thought that irish soda breads might be the answer to my baking woes, and all I needed was an inspired recipe to get me started.

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup oats
1 tbsp fresh chopped rosemary
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup butter
1 3/4 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk together.

In a large saucepan melt butter on medium heat until it's browned.

Stir into the dry mixture along with the buttermilk.

Turn out onto a well floured surface. Divide dough in half and shape into round loaves.

Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

The texture was a little dry. I would describe this as a giant but delicious scone. I'll maybe experiment with some other soda bread recipes until I find one that's a little less dense. I'm also imagining all sorts of add ins like olives or sun dried tomatoes.

Recipe adapted from Epicurious

1 comment:

  1. I am so glad you enjoyed the bread recipe! You know tyhis is very approachable.

    I find with baking the key is really to follow the recipe - basically the opposite of cooking. I am at the point where I can fool around with ingredients in muffins\cookies etc and things turn out about 80% of the time, but that is after years of trials!