by Max Brantley
Now that fall is in the air again, I can crank up the oven for baking. And I did my Irish soda bread experiment, using Elizabeth David's book on bread as a guide.
Picture's not so great, but the bread is absolutely fine.
I preheated the oven to 425.
I mixed two cups of King Arthur stone-ground 100 percent whole wheat with one cup of Martha White soft white flour, a quarter-cup of unprocessed wheat bran, one teaspoon of baking soda and one teaspoon of salt. Then I poured in 1 and 1/4 cups of Bulgarian buttermilk, plus about two tablespoons of warm water and one tablespoon of melted butter. The water was needed because the mix was a touch too dry. The butter is optional. I divided the dough in half and then formed two oval loaves. (You might flour your hands before doing this.) I placed the loaves on a lightly oiled cookie sheet and then covered them with bread pans, cooking for 30 minutes. Then I removed the bread pans and cooked the loaves for 10 more minutes, until the exterior was crusty.
The result was not too crumbly. You can see the texture is even. The smell, probably enhanced by the miller's bran, is wonderful. It is ready to eat about 15 to 20 minutes out of the oven. We had butter and some country apple butter for topping. Simple and good. Worth repeating.