It all started with, “Let’s leave it up for another week; it’s so pretty and festive,” and turned into “How did tinsel get there? It’s February already?!” I guess that’s what happens when you’re gone for two weeks. Apparently, your life does not go on without you. Instead it waits, patiently collecting dust and piles of junk mail.
What does this have to do with baking seed soda-bread?
Nothing, except there is not enough time in the day to take down the darn tree, let alone bake bread. And, I wanted bread. I needed to dip it into my lentil soup in the worst way. I wanted it five minutes ago. Covered in butter.
Cue the homely soda bread. Heidi from 101cookbooks makes an earthy, seed-filled soda bread that makes my St. Patty’s day staple look like amateur hour. With a bake time of less than 45 minutes, I could make it while my lentil soup simmered. Perfect.
Slightly adapted from 101cookbooks
Enjoy with Irish butter or an aged sharp cheddar cheese. And, of course red lentil soup with lemon. As Heidi recommends, you can replace spelt flour with whole-wheat flour. Makes 1 loaf.
- 15 tbspn of seeds to your liking (sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, flax seeds, fennel seeds and caraway seeds)
- 1 3/4 cup spelt flour
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 tspn baking soda
- 1 tspn fine grain sea salt
- 1 tpsn of big coarse salt (like kosher or grey salt)
- 1 3/4 cup buttermilk plus a bit of extra buttermilk
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place a rack in the center of the oven.
2. In a small bowl combine all the seeds and set aside.
3. Sift the flours, baking soda, and fine grain sea salt into a large mixing bowl. Stir in all but 2 tablespoons of the seeds.
4. Make a well in the flour, pour in the buttermilk, and stir until the dough just comes together. Add an extra splash of buttermilk if the dough is too dry.
5. Heidi quoting Hugh (the original creator of this recipe): “Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead lightly for about a minute, just long enough to pull it together into a loose ball but no longer – you need to get it into the oven while the baking soda is still doing its stuff.”
6. Place the dough on a lightly floured baking sheet and mark it with a deep cross across the top, cutting two-thirds of the way through the loaf with a serrated knife.
7. Brush with buttermilk and sprinkle with the remaining seeds and your teaspoon of big coarse salt, making sure plenty of seeds/salt make it down into the cracks.
8. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the bread is golden crusted on top and bottom (you may want to move the oven rack up for the last 15 minute if you need more color on the top of the loaf). Cool on a wire rack.