Saturday, September 8, 2012

brown soda bread

Saturday mornings are quiet in this household. I am the first one to wake up, and usually at least an hour goes by before anyone else - including the dog - rouses. That hour is spent writing - my journal, blog, e-mails - and reading. It is the time to ponder whatever might be heavy on my heart, or being thankful if nothing is. It's the quietness and stillness that draws my heart to be at peace those mornings.

But it is not just that time of quietness that makes Saturday mornings so precious. No, what happens next is also important.

After an hour or so, my Dad wakes up. I brew a pot of coffee and prepare breakfast while he's out walking the dog. Then, we share the morning's newspaper and discuss the things we read. If there is something major going on in our lives, we discuss that as well. It's just the two of us, because nobody else is awake. And I think it's safe to say that we both treasure those moments where it's just a father and a daughter. He teaches me what he thinks is important for me to know; explains things that I'm too impatient to learn about myself (politics and economics, to name a few); discusses matters he would like me to have an opinion about (and he's okay if I am of different opinion).

This brown soda bread is perfect for those silent Saturday mornings. It is simple yet delectable, especially with a smear of butter and raspberry jam on top. It pairs well with a cup of coffee (or tea), and it's hearty enough to make a good breakfast. This soda bread is only slightly sweet, yet sweet enough to pair well with jam and salty butter. And as I have noticed, this bread is perfect any other time of the day as well.

I have made this bread a few times. The first time I used just whole wheat and all-purpose flour. The second time I ended up subbing some spelt flour for all-purpose because we ran out of all-purpose flour.  Either way, it's delicious.

Brown Soda Bread
adapted from Sweet Amandine
makes one loaf

1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose
1/4 cup spelt flour
3 tbsp instant oats
2 tbsp packed brown sugar
1 tbsp ground flaxseeds
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

30g butter, cut into small cubes
2 cups buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 210C. Grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan. Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl, making sure that the brown sugar is evenly distributed. Rub the cubed butter in with your fingers until it resembles a fine meal. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, pour the buttermilk in, and stir until just combined. Be careful not to stir too much, or you'll end up with a tough dough.

Transfer the dough into the prepared loaf pan. Bake until the bread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean, about 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool down slightly before slicing.

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