While at work, my husband has the privilege of being cooked for and cleaned up after. There is a lovely Irish girl who keeps him from withering away. Her name is Janine.
From time to time, the girls and I are lucky enough to share the privilege with him. Janine puts up with my children under foot and the forty-six questions that get fired at her about exactly what ingredients are going where and why the stove moves and why the fridge doors are so heavy and why the galley is called the galley and how come she has to cook for the boys and why the bread needs to cook for an hour and why she chose to paint her toenails that colour and if she is going to wear a pretty dress later on and well, you get the idea. She not only puts up with them, she does so patiently and calmly and sweetly in moments when I would have lost any shred of cool I may possess by question four.
She made us some soda bread for lunch one day. Poppy and I decided we would try and reproduce her delicious loaf. We tried and it was good but I am thinking it may need an Irish hand to be as delicious as hers was. For the rest of us this will do just fine to be sure.
I toasted the sesame seeds and pine nuts and cooled them before adding because they taste even better that way. The seed/nut combination is up to you. You could add pumpkin seeds or chopped nuts or whatever you feel like.
Don’t forget to cut a cross in the top which is not a religious symbol - I had thought it was. Janine says it just helps it rise evenly.
Seeded Brown Irish Soda Bread (adapted from Janine’s adaptation of Rachel Allen’s Brown Soda Bread in Bake)
225 grams (8 ounces) whole wheat flour
225 grams (8 ounces) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
100 grams mixed seeds (I used sunflower, poppy, pine nuts and sesame seeds)
25 grams (1 ounce) butter
1 egg beaten
375-400 mL buttermilk
Preheat oven to 425º (220ºc).
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Rub the butter in to the dry ingredients. Make a well in the center.
Whisk the egg and buttermilk together and pour most of the liquid into the dry ingredients. Using your hand like a scoop, bring the flour and liquid together, adding more liquid if necessary. The dough should be soft an not too sticky.
Turn out and bring dough into a round on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Cut a deep cross in the top of round.
Bake for 15 minutes. Turn heat down to about 390º (200ºc) and bake for another 30 minutes. The loaf will sound hollow when it is done.
Remove from oven and allow to cool.