Brown Soda Bread and Homemade Butter ~ it doesn’t get any more elemental than this…with a few simple ingredients and a little bit of time you can make two of the world’s most important foods from scratch.
I think one of the charms of these recipes is how quick and easy they are. You don’t need to do any advance planning or prep work to have hot bread and fresh butter on the table for dinner. This soda bread is really close to being a biscuit or a scone; the only difference is that it doesn’t have the rich butter content. Think of it as a more healthy alternative to a biscuit… either that or a really good excuse to slather on lots of butter to make up the difference!
My previous experience with soda bread was not good. I last made it years and years ago, probably with white flour, and it was unimpressive, so I never touched it again. But I think here the whole wheat flour makes a difference. As does really good butter. This is not fancy or highly flavored bread, it’s a basic food for hungry people. If you make it right before dinner and serve it hot out of the oven, it’s wonderful.
This bread is as easy as weighing your flour, whisking in the soda and salt, and pouring in the buttermilk.
You don’t even really knead it, more like push it around on a floured counter just till it just holds together.
Slash a big X across the top and you’re ready to go.
*This recipe is from Darina Allen
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (about 9 ounces)
- 2 cups whole wheat flour (about 9 1/2 ounces) (I used 18 1/2 oz of white whole wheat flour)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- (I snuck in a Tbsp of brown sugar)
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- Set oven to 450F
- Weigh out your flour or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Make a well in center of mixture. Add buttermilk to flour mixture; stir until blended (dough will be sticky). Turn dough out onto a generously floured surface; knead lightly 4 to 5 times.
- Shape dough into an 8-inch round loaf; place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Cut a 1/4-inch-deep X in the top of the dough.
- Bake at 450F for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 400° (do not remove bread from oven); bake 15 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack.
- To make the butter, put the heavy cream in a bowl and beat it as you would for whipped cream. Only keep beating. As you go, you will reach the regular whipped cream stage, then it will go beyond that into a kind of overly thick stage, and finally into a seperated state of curds and whey. Add a sprinkling of salt at this time.
- Drain the butter in a cheesecloth lined strainer for a few minutes, and then pick up the cheesecloth and squeeze out as much liquid as you can from the butter. That leftover liquid is buttermilk, save it to make scones!
- Transfer the butter into a container, smooth it down, and store.
- Don’t overwork the bread, the dough is meant to be shaggy.
- Brown bread is best hot out of the oven, so go ahead, don’t be shy!