Thursday, March 18, 2010

live blogging of the irish soda bread

12:51: Oven preheating at 425. Cast iron skillet oiled and warming in oven.



12:55 pm: Assemble ingredients, mindfully recollecting the recipe from yesterday so I don't have to look it up. Three cups flour, 1 t. baking soda, 1 t. salt, 1 1/2 cups buttermilk. That's it, really. The recipe is so simple even a home ec. teacher could teach adolescents to bake it.



Here's what I look at while getting everything ready:


I stare for awhile at the watercolor of our house that Cheryl painted, and I feel nostalgic for something I haven't even left yet.

12:56: Detect the odor of lightly burning oil. Take skillet out of oven and set on top of stove. Note that oven isn't yet preheated.

12:58: Dance a little in the kitchen to Blue Plate Special, which I normally don't like, but am kind of in the mood for right now. Plus, I do like the sound of Jeff Bieri's voice.

12:59: Wash hands. Dry them on a clean towel. Throw towel over right shoulder with left hand, and wish once again that I possessed an apron. Think once again about sewing one. Excited to bring out Grandma's sewing machine table once we move a bunch of stuff out of our house. Realize the moment I start typing this that I've gotten computer keyboard germs all over my hands. Shit! No more live blogging until bread is in the oven!

1:01: Wash hands again. Accidentally dry them on the old towels. Throw old towels in laundry. Wash hands again.

1:19: I look up at the digital clock to see what time it is, and it says 1:19. I realize that I failed to start the timer (after taking the picture of it), and instead, turned it off. Reset timer for 30 minutes, remembering that yesterday I cooked it a little less than the prescribed 35 minutes anyway.

Here's what happened between 1:01 and 1:19:

Measured flour carefully. Dismayed to find that I didn't have much Mountain Mama white pastry flour left, so it winds up being about a half white/half whole wheat mixture.

Added the teaspoon (plus a little extra 'cause I like it) salt. Marina turned me on to this gray sea salt:



Added the teaspoon (minus a little for high altitude) of baking soda.




Stirred it up and dug a hole in the center. Only had one cup of buttermilk; no worries-substituted a little plain yogurt and milk.



Poured buttermilk/yogurt/milk mixture into the flour/salt/soda crater. Mixed just until moist. Turned out onto floured board and kneaded gently a few times. Formed the dough into a ball in my hands, and placed it prayerfully in the receiving skillet. Pressed the dough ball into a giant, fat pancake.



Cut the pancake into quarters, and placed it into preheated oven.

Set timer for 35 minutes.

1:42: Waiting not-so-patiently, with butter and jam, and reading this. Then I start reading this, and begin to rethink my decision to take cooking out of my curriculum for next year. Cooking is science and history and math and a whole lot of other things, all in one.

2 comments:

Sarah McWhinney said...

Is that sal gris from a beach in France perchance? I'm baking bread and butter pudding with raspberries and jam just now. Blake is still at work so I think he'll need something sweet when he gets home. Thanks for sharing this illustrated journey to soda bread. xxx

Kate said...

I love cooking with my students. Put it back in! LOL!