Sunday, February 27, 2011

Soda bread

I thought I would share a staple recipe that is in purple mouse.

First you take a cup of milk and add 1 teaspoon of vinegar.  You let them sit a while (10 min, at most) and the milk will start to curdle.  Cool, Science!! The milk in China is different, and I wondered if this will work here.  It does.  You will probably have larger curds if you do this in the US, but I am not sure.  I will try it out this summer.  You could probably use Chinese vinegar too, but I just use this since I have it.

You mix together 2 cups of flour,  1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda.  In China, baking soda is called Su da fen (second tone, second tone).  We bought our at a market.  We bought a jin (500g) it has lasted for more than a year.  I have seen some arm & Hammer baking soda at our market near our place.

Sometimes I use bread flour (high glutton) and sometimes I use regular flour.
 Then you add the milk mixture to the flour and stir it up, after it is mostly stirred, I scrape the bowl out onto the counter, or in this case a clean tray with flour.  I knead it some to incorporate all the flour.  Many times I add some herbs at this point.  I like to add rosemary or Italian seasoning.   I don't usually measure it, but I guess it is about 2 teaspoons of herbs.

 Then you shape the bread into a squished ball.
If you want to be traditional, you can cut a cross (or x) on the top of the bread.
 I have started spraying the pan with a little Pam, you could butter or oil it a  little.  When I don't grease the pan, the bread sticks a little.

Put it in a 400 degree oven, or if you are in China about 200 degrees C.

 The recipe calls for it to be cooked for 15 minutes.  I usually just watch it, and smell to see when it is done.  For a while it stays pretty flat.  Then it puffs up!
 I did not notice at first, but someone had turned off the top element in our oven, so the top did not get done when it should.  I switched on the top element and got the top browned. 

Yummy, yummy fresh bread!
This bread makes fantastic toast!  I have been experimenting with adding raisin, and dried cranberries.  I like the way it  smells when I add cinnamon, but when I add sugar, to the bread, I have trouble getting it to cook all the way through.  The kids love this and I never really have any leftovers.

Try it, what works for you?

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