Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Rye Soda Bread

I guess fall has finally arrived in the Bay Area.  I say "I guess" because it rained this weekend for the first time since May but is now back to sunny and 75 degrees for the week.  Fall is strange round these parts.

It seems everyone nowadays considers fall their favorite season, my husband included.  Not me.  I'm a summer kind of gal.  Frankly, I feel like fall is only welcomed with open arms because people get sick of 90 degree weather.  Well guess what, it's nice and temperate all summer here, so why would I want it to get cold and rain? Why would I want my beautiful tomatoes and strawberries to disappear from the market?

I suppose I am interested in the breads and soups of fall and winter.  They even might be trading my tomatoes for.

I made this rye soda bread in the dead of summer and we enjoyed it with some leftover soup, but I'm sure it would have been even better once the temperatures start dipping.

If you haven't made soda bread before, it's a breeze.  There is no yeast involved, so you don't have to wait for it to rise.  30 seconds of kneading is all you need (har har) to pull this bread together.

The rye flavor in this bread is very mild, so it works well to accompany just about any soup recipe you have.  (And Lord knows it goes well with butter.)  Next time I will probably make a half recipe since this bread is too dense and filling to finish between two people in one evening.   I suppose if soda bread and soup are involved, I can join the masses and welcome the love of fall into my life.  But only if it means I have an excuse to buy another cute pair of boots.

Rye Soda Bread

2 1/3 cups rye flour 
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading and topping
1 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 3/4 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
2 cups buttermilk, plus more for brushing the bread

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees with a rack in the middle of the oven.

In a large bowl, stir together flours, baking soda, and salt.  Make a well in the middle and pour in the buttermilk.  Stir together by hand until the dough just comes together.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured counter and knead for about 30 seconds.  The dough she pretty a pretty cohesive ball.  

Place the dough on a lightly floured baking sheet.  Brush buttermilk over the top and sides of the dough and sprinkle with flour.  Cut eight slashes into the dough ball, being careful not to cut all the way through.

Bake for 30 minutes and then move the rack up a level and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes.  The bread is done when it is crusty, heavy, and make a hollow sound when tapped on the bottom. 

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