We generally assume that bread contains yeast, and for some this is the defining characteristic. There are yeast breads that don’t need to be kneaded, we’ll talk about that in another article. We work across the street in this take on Bagless Bread, which uses soda as a sourdough,
Cornbread and Irish soda bread compete to be the most famous of these breads…. in the savory category. The category of sweet banana breads has great recognition value and brings to mind a variety of breads, especially for winter fun. From date and nut bread to poppy seed and maple and walnut bread, the list goes on and on. We highlighted pumpkin bread in our bread testing project. Again, we’ll limit this thread to the savory breads you prepare as part of the meal.
Time is on your side
If you have four hours before dinner, you can make classic yeast bread, two hours and focaccia, or even better, one hour before dinner and soda bread available. That’s why most cookbooks literally classify these breads as quick breads.
Pro-tip. We call it soda. That’s a soda that reacts with a liquid and an acid. Baking soda is baking soda to which an acid base has been added (use cream of tartar to make it yourself), so it duplicates itself by reacting with the liquid and temperature over time.
These breads are made to go straight from the bowl into the oven. The soda gives them a nice sparkly texture. Shortening, preferably in oil, makes them fuller and helps retain moisture. And they respond very well to everything from garlic to spices to cheese added to the mix.
There are things you do to make good soda bread that are the opposite of baking with yeast. Usually the dry ingredients are harvested first and cut with butter or shortening. The old school called it the two-knife technique, or you can use a pastry knife. But we now have the ubiquitous technology of household robots, which is ideal for this stage. Whatever method is used, the aim is to reach the pea stage, where the oil emerges homogeneously in the mixture in small fragments no larger than peas.
The most important sign when baking bread with baking soda is not to overdo it. You don’t want the butter to mix too much with the flour in your Irish soda bread, and you certainly don’t want your dough to mix too much. Cornbread is the same idea, so don’t over mix when you add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. The big difference is that most cornbread requires liquid or rendered fat as a wet ingredient, rather than being cut dry. Recipes require three or four quick taps to easily mix the batter, then pour it into the pan and bake immediately.
These breads are shaped almost entirely by the pan you use. You can also just pour the dough directly into the pan, but the result will be rather disjointed and, frankly, not very appealing. From pans to round cake pans, or springform pans, or even cast iron, you can get a pan.
The most fundamental difference with yeast bread is how the dough gets the bubbles from the yeast, how it rises. All sourdough breads are risen in the oven, where the yeast breads have had plenty of time to rise before baking. Due to the addition of a generally higher moisture content, the baking time will be longer than that of a yeast bread of the same size. Thus, the choice of casserole affects the cooking process. If you choose a pan in which the dough does not sit too high (about three to four inches), you will get the best results. The outside will be overcooked if the middle is too deep.
Cheddar Irish Soda Bread
This recipe uses buttermilk, which not everyone has on hand. If you don’t have buttermilk, it’s an easy fix. Put a tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a measuring cup, fill 1-1/4 cups with milk. Shake it and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes and you’ll get what you need.
Preheat oven to 375.
In a food processor, mix everything together;
- 2 ½ cups of flour
- 2 teaspoons baker’s yeast
- 1 teaspoon baker’s yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
Cut off half an inch and add this;
- 4 tablespoons cold butter
Cut the butter into the flour with the pulse of a food processor or with two knives or a dough cutter until it is the size of a pea.
Whisk the ingredients in a large bowl;
- 1 ¼ cup buttermilk
- 1 large egg
Add to that;
- 1 ½ cups grated cheddar cheese (6-8 oz.)
- Dry ingredients/butter mixture
Stir quickly in a few strokes. Pour the sticky dough into a greased 8-inch round baking dish. Dust your hands or use a rubber spatula to press the dough to the edge. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, let cool for 5 minutes, then unmold.
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