Soda bread. Sounds all old timey doesn’t it? Conjures up images of John O’Hara novels and aproned grandmothers in country kitchens. I’ve been making all of my bread from scratch these days (once you go home-made it’s hard to go back) but I have been sticking with yeast breads. I ran across a post over at 101 Cookbooks with a recipe for soda bread made with rolled oats and it looked so tasty I decided to give it a shot.
I suppose that soda bread qualifies as a quick bread since it requires no rising time. The result is a heavy, dense bread which is perfect for toast on a cold and wet winter morning. The smell emanating from the oven is magical, and if you’re careful about putting the bread in your bread pan you can get a quite beautiful end product.
Oat Soda Bread Recipe
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks
butter for the pan
2 cups rolled oats
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons fine-grain sea salt
1 3/4 cups buttermilk (or 2% milk) plus a little for brushing on the top
Preheat your oven at 400 degrees. Butter a standard sized bread pan and line with parchment paper. Pulse the rolled oats in a food processor a few times, then process for another minute or two until you’ve created oat flour. Sift the oat flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add the milk. Mix with a wooden spoon until combined, then knead in the bowl briefly until the dough comes together. Dump it out onto a lightly dusted counter and form into a rectangle that will fit evenly in your bread pan. Bake for 50 minutes. The bread will have a hollow sound when tapped when it is done. Allow to cool briefly in the pan then transfer to a rack to cool completely. May be eaten warm, room temperature or toasted. Lovely with butter and some nice blueberry preserves!
After Action Report
There isn’t much to report on this recipe other than the fact that it is incredible easy and results in a lovely tasting product. Toast in particular rocks my world, and soda bread is perfect for that. I made a couple of changes to the recipe which I don’t think had a dramatic effect though. I only had 1 cup of buttermilk, so I added 3/4 of a cup of regular 2% milk. While the final product had a slight buttermilk tang to it, I think a full measure of buttermilk will really draw out this flavor. For the topping you could add any kind of seeds (like poppy seeds) or even more rolled oats for texture. The sesame seeds I added worked well (which was good because that is all I had on hand) and gave the bread a nice crunch.