We all know that making yeast bread can be a pain (except this one that’s pretty chill). First, you have to make sure your living, breathing yeast organism is still alive and hasn’t hit its expiration date. Then you have to coax it into bloom with quality milk that’s hot, but not too hot (kinda like a relationship that works because both parties are hot but not too hot and don’t overpower and have qualities beyond their physical appearance amirite). Then you have to wait for the interminable double rise time, when all the while your brain is just like CINNAMON ROLLS DO WANT. And after all that, the stuff STILL might turn out hard, dense or soggy.
So we avoid it like the plague except for special occasions and for love.
For all of you that know the pain of making yeast bread, I’d like to present the simpler, heartier, done-in-a-flash option: soda bread.
It uses baking soda (haha get it?) as a leavener, which is far more forgiving and makes the process easy as cake. Actually though.
I once made a version with cranberries and nuts in it, but this round, I went for RYE and CHEESE and NUTS and FRESH HERBS from my friend’s garden (she is living the dream and grows her own). Served hot, fresh from the oven, it was a delightfully hearty, wholesome side. Plus, it’s from Pippa’s book, and she is the cutest. I think of her as the British version of Giada.
Seeded Parmesan Soda Bread
From Celebrate: A Year of Festivities for Families and Friends
1 cup rye flour
1 cup white whole-wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
large handful of fresh herbs, such as oregano and thyme, chopped
3 ounces mixed pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, divided
3 ounces grated Parmesan, divided
10 ounces buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Stir together all ingredients except 1 ounce of Parmesan, 1 ounce of the seeds and the buttermilk in a large bowl until well-combined. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the butter milk. Stir together until the mixture just comes together. Add more buttermilk if needed, but it shouldn’t be a sticky dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead a couple of times. Gently pat the dough into a round about 1 1/2 inches deep. Cut a deep X in the top and sprinkle with the reserved Parmesan and seeds.
Place the dough on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, then turn down the heat to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and cook for another 30 minutes until golden. Let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then serve warm.