I made some homemade butter last week, and the by product is always buttermilk. So of course that means I get to treat myself to some fabulous toast this week in the form of Irish Soda Bread. It’s one of the easiest recipes for bread and bakes up into a fabulously wonky peasant loaf.
- Mix 2 cups flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda & 3/4 tsp salt* in a bowl (*note: if you are using the buttermilk remaining from your homemade butter, skip the salt as your milk will already be salted)
- Add 1 cup buttermilk to the mixture and stir to form a soft dough
- Either knead on a floured surface or in the bowl for 2-3 minutes
- Form the dough into a round loaf about 8 inches across – cross hatch with a knife to spiff it up
- Bake for 40 minutes at 350*
- The bread is done when it sounds hollow after a light thump
For a softer crust, wrap in a clean tea towel and set the bread on it’s side to cool.
I did a little research into the history of soda bread while the bread was baking and it’s pretty interesting stuff! Did you know that the cross hatch on the bread is considered “blessing the bread” and is meant to let the fairies out and keep the household safe? The cross also allows the bread to be broken easily in the hand in the event that an unexpected guest arrived – breaking bread to share. It is a bread based in poverty as it is made with the simplest of ingredients – the baking powder replaces yeast – and is formed in different shapes based on region? Interesting!
We only go to the store once a week. So when I realized this morning that I had used the last of the butter on the Victoria Sponge on Monday, I was bummed. But wait! I still had some cream left from the whip, so viola! Butter was about to happen. It’s super easy and happened while I was making coffee.
- Add heavy cream and salt to stand mixer
- Turn on medium high and wait until the cream begins to separate into butter and buttermilk (5-10 minutes depending on quantity and temperature – colder takes longer)
And just like that, you have butter. Yay!
I have been on a Great British Bake Off bender for weeks now and can’t stop talking about it and wishing I were adorable and British and lived in a land where tea and cakes all the time is totally acceptable. Despite the fact that I live in Alaska and not the land of shires and queens, that hasn’t stopped me from going on my own baking bender. Last week I made a few batches of scones, and this week I am trying my hand at the fabled Victoria Sponge. This is the easiest dessert in the GBBO repertoire, but one feels so accomplished making it.
- Cream 1 cup room temperature butter in your stand mixer. Once light and fluffy, slowly add 1 cup sugar until incorporated.
- Beat 4 room temperature eggs one at a time into the mixture until incorporated (the room temp thing is key – cold eggs will harden your butter and it turns into a mess. So, trust me on this one.)
- Sift 2 cups flour and 2 teaspoons baking soda into a bowl.
- Slowly fold flour mixture into fluffy egg/butter/sugar mixture.
- Add to 2 greased 8 inch round pans.
- Bake 25-30 minutes at 325* – cake is done when it comes away from the sides of the pan or tester comes out clean
When your cake is cool, whip up a batch of homemade whipped cream, slather some jam or fresh fruit inside and layer your two cakes like a giant sweet sandwich full of delicious. Now, brew some tea, don a giant hat, and talk smart about cool things like cricket and the queen mum.
If you have had any contact with me in the last few weeks you know I have been on a Great British Bake Off bender. If you are unfamiliar with the show, let me just tell you that it inspires a need for all things baked, preferably stuffed in ones face while trying on a quaint English accent.
Today the need for scones was too great and I preheated the oven. (to 400*)
- Mix 2 cups flour with 1/3 cup sugar, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda & 1/2 tsp salt in a bowl
- Grate 8 TB of frozen butter into the flour mixture and work the mixture with your fingers until it resembles coarse meal
- Stir in 1/2 cup raisins or whatever weird dried fruit you choose
- Whisk together 1 large egg and 1/2 cup sour cream in separate bowl and add to flour mixture
- Press the dough together against the side of the bowl incorporating with as little hands on time as possible
- Roll dough to 3/4 – 1 inch thick and cut in equal triangles
- Sprinkle top of scones with sugar and bake for 15 – 17 minutes on the lower middle rack
Stuff face. Great with some cream and jam and of course
The husband doesn’t request specific foods a lot, and definitely not anything that would be considered a sweet or a bread. So when he casually left the Alice Bay Cookbook (A savory sampler from Washington’s Skagit Valley) laying around the living room, instead of being mad as his slovenliness, I took it as a sign he wanted me to make his favorite muffins.
- Preheat oven to 415*
- Cream 1/4 cup room temperature butter with 3/4 cup sugar
- Slowly add 2 eggs,1 at a time and continue mixing until combined evenly
- Add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Alternate adding sour cream (3/4 cup total) and flour (1 1/4 + 2 TB total)
- Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and gently fold in 1 cup blueberries
Bake for approximately 15 minutes. Stuff face. Makes 12 delicious muffins.
I few people asked me if I had any great dinner roll recipes this Thanksgiving. Truth be told, I didn’t. However! I do have a great hamburger roll recipe, and thought, why couldn’t that be used? So I gave it a try myself and omg…..those rolls are so good. Follow the recipe just as you would for the hamburger buns, but form smaller dough balls. Slather with butter. Shove in face. Repeat.
We did the traditional Thanksgiving spread, including mashed potatoes, creamed spinach, giblet gravy and stuffing (not much of a healthy vegetable to be seen – I’m ok with that), and of course, a giant turkey. Like, 23 pounds of giant turkey. I know – that’s huge. But of course we use all parts of it and feel that if you’re going to go through the trouble of brining and basting and whatevering, you might as well make it a big ass bird. The stock has already been simmered in the pressure cooker, and the meat has been separated for leftovers, etc (I can’t wait for the husbands epically awesome turkey enchiladas tomorrow – homemade enchilada sauce from scratch – with turkey drippings!!).