Irish Soda Bread

A wonderful recipe I found on Epicurious from Noreen Kinney. The texture is exactly like I had this bread in Ireland. I did not have the oat and wheat brans so used all wheat germ in its place. I can’t wait to try this recipe again with the other brans. It is very fast to make as you do not knead it-you just shape it and bake it! I have never baked with flax seeds before and have always thought they should be ground up to be digested? They seemed to have turned green in the bread and the bread is kind of yellowish! I would love any input if you have any ideas about flax seeds!

1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour or graham flour, plus more for shaping
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup wheat bran
1/4 cup oat bran
1/4 cup untoasted wheat germ
2 tablespoons flaxseed
1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 large egg
About 1 3/4 cups buttermilk


Adjust an oven rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 425°F. Coat a heavy baking sheet with vegetable cooking spray or line it with a silicone baking pan liner or aluminum foil.
In a large bowl, stir together the all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour. Add the butter and work it into the dry ingredients with your fingertips until the fat particles are very fine. Stir in the baking soda, salt, sugar, wheat bran, oat bran, wheat germ, flaxseed, and sunflower seeds.
Beat the egg lightly with a fork in a 2-cup glass measure. Add enough buttermilk to come to the 2-cup line and stir with the fork to combine well. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until the dough gathers into a thick, wet-looking mass.
Sprinkle your work surface with whole wheat flour and scrape the dough onto it. Dust the dough with a bit more whole wheat flour. Pat the dough into a circular shape about 7 inches across and 2 inches high and transfer it to the prepared baking sheet. Don’t be concerned about evenness—the loaf should look rustic. Make a cross-shaped indentation on top of the loaf going right to the edges. I use a plastic bench scraper and press it into the dough very gently; don’t actually cut the dough. During baking the indentation expands, giving the top of the loaf an attractive pattern.
Bake the bread for about 40 minutes, until it is well browned and sounds hollow when rapped on the bottom. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf should register 195° to 200°F. Cool the loaf on a wire cooling rack, and serve warm or at room temperature. Cut into quarters and slice each quarter with a sharp serrated knife. Delicious with butter.
Storing:
The loaf keeps well at room temperature, wrapped in plastic wrap, for 2 to 3 days. The entire loaf or quarters of it can also be frozen when completely cool. Wrap in plastic wrap, place in heavy-duty resealable plastic bags, and freeze for up to 2 weeks. Thaw completely before unwrapping. If desired, refresh the bread in a preheated 300°F oven for 10 minutes.

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The best Banana Bread

From Joanne Chang and her wonderful bakeries in Boston called Flour. Use your stand mixer for beating the sugar and eggs together for ten minutes. I cooked this an extra 10 minutes as I did not want a soggy center to the bread. I think it is one of the best banana bread recipes!

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
3 1/2 bananas, very ripe, mashed
2 tablespoons creme fraiche or sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

Set oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of a loaf pan with parchment paper.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Beat sugar and eggs with a whisk until light and fluffy, about 10 minutes. Drizzle in oil. Add mashed bananas, creme fraiche, and vanilla. Fold in dry ingredients and nuts. Pour into a lined loaf pan and bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Bread

My sister Meg alerted me to this recipe in the NY Times! So simple and delicious! You can use as much or as little of the nutella as you want. It leaves melting pockets of hazelnut chocolate!

½ cup/113 grams unsalted butter (1 stick), plus more for greasing the pan
2 cups/256 grams all-purpose flour, plus more for flouring the pan
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
1 ½ cups/310 grams mashed bananas, from about 3 medium bananas
⅔ cup/134 grams granulated sugar
¼ cup/57 grams plain Greek yogurt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
⅓ cup/99 grams chocolate-hazelnut spread, like Nutella

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan.
Stir the flour, baking soda and salt together in a bowl.
Brown butter: Melt butter in a light-colored saucepan over medium heat. Cook butter, occasionally scraping the bottom and sides of the pan with a rubber spatula until it turns a deep golden brown and smells nutty. Don’t walk away from the pan during this process. The butter will go from browned and nutty to acrid and burnt in moments. Transfer butter to a large heat-safe mixing bowl and let it cool slightly.
When the butter has cooled a bit, add the mashed bananas, sugar, yogurt, eggs and vanilla extract. Stir until well combined, then add the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Do not overmix.
Pour half the batter into prepared pan and spread it evenly with a knife or offset spatula. Spoon half the chocolate-hazelnut spread in several dollops over the top and use a toothpick or skewer to swirl it into the batter. Spoon and spread the remaining batter over the top followed by dollops of the remaining spread. Swirl in the spread, then bake the bread for 55 to 60 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Coconut Bread

Originally from Bill Granger a chef in Austrailia. I found it on Smitten Kitchen and she updated The Wednesday Chef’s recipe! I do not care for sweetened coconut** so I used unsweetened coconut from my health food store. It is a dense delicious bread and I can’t wait to toast it!

2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups (295 ml) milk
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups (315 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon table salt (see Note)
2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking powder
1 to 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (Bill calls for 2 but I preferred 1, so that it didn’t dominate)
1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
5 ounces (140 grams) sweetened flaked coconut (about 1 1/2 cups) **see note above
6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, melted or melted and browned, if desired

Vegetable oil or nonstick cooking spray for baking pan
Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and vanilla.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon. Add sugar and coconut, and stir to mix. Make a well in the center, and pour in egg mixture, then stir wet and dry ingredients together until just combined. Add butter, and stir until just smooth — be careful not to overmix.
Butter and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan, or coat it with a nonstick spray. Spread batter in pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, anywhere from 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Cool in pan five minutes, before turning out onto a cooling rack.

Buttermilk Biscuits

From a Martha Stewart recipe circa 2001. Tried and true recipe and very simple.

4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Put 2 1/2 cups of the flour mixture into a food processor. Pulse in the butter all at once until they are pea sized pieces. Pour back mixture into large bowl, stir in buttermilk. It may be easier toward the end to flour your hands and mix it. Knead dough until it comes together and roll out into 1″ thickness. Cut into size desired. (Optional-prick tops of biscuits with the tines of a fork and brush with melted butter or milk or cream. Bake 18-20 minutes.

Gougeres

One of my favorite hors d’oeuvres that I never tire of making. This recipe is from Tartine but I made some changes in the baking time and temperature over the years. Allow yourself one hour from start to finish, after you have prepped the ingredients.

Makes about 30-36 cocktail size puffs, I use a 1 1/4″ scoop

1 1/4 c. water (or nonfat milk or half regular milk and water) Water works fine
5 oz. unsalted Butter
1 t. Salt (I used 1/2 t. Himalayan salt)
1 c. (5 oz.) Flour
5 large Eggs
5 oz. grated Gruyere cheese
1 t. Black Pepper, freshly ground
1 T. fresh Thyme leaves, minced
Topping
large Egg
pinch of Salt
finely grated Gruyere cheese for sprinkling the tops

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Combine water(or milk mixture) with butter and salt in a heavy saucepan. Place over medium heat until butter melts and mixture comes to a full boil. Add flour all at once and stir constantly with a wooden spoon for 3 minutes. Mixture will be a smooth mass and pull away from the sides of the pan.
Transfer mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing on medium speed, incorporating each egg before adding the next egg. When all the eggs have been added, the mixture will be smooth and shiny. Remove bowl from mixer and stir in the cheese, pepper and thyme with a rubber spatula. Transfer to a pastry bag with a plain tip or use a small scoop. Pipe into 1″ mounds.
To make topping, in a small bowl, whisk the egg and salt together and gently brush the tops of each pastry. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake both pans at the same time, alternately shelves midway through the cooking process. Bake for 10 minutes at 425 degrees, reduce heat and bake for 15 more minutes, until they have puffed and are nicely browned.
You can poke each pastry with a skewer when cooked and let sit 10 minutes in the oven, turned off-it helps so they don’t deflate!
Delicious served hot or warm or are also good at room temperature. You can reheat in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes.

Blueberry Crumb Cake

This is a simple cake from Williams Sonoma blog that is easy and delicious! I made it in a springform pan rather than a cake pan but the choice is up to you. It is perfect for breakfast or as a snack in the afternoon.
Blueberry Crumb Cake
For the crumb topping:
1 cup (5 oz./155 g) all-purpose flour
2/3 cup (5 oz./155 g) sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon
8 Tbs. (1 stick) (4 oz./125 g) unsalted butter, melted

For the cake:
1 3/4 cups (9 oz./280 g) all-purpose flour
1 cup (8 oz./250 g) sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
3 eggs
1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups (8 oz./250 g) fresh blueberries

Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease and flour a 9-inch (23-cm) round cake pan.

To make the crumb topping, in a small bowl, stir together the flour, sugar and lemon zest. Add the melted butter and stir with a fork until the mixture is crumbly. Set aside.

To make the cake, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, combine the eggs, sour cream and vanilla and beat until well blended. With the mixer on low, slowly add flour mixture. Beat on medium until smooth, about 2 minutes.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Cover evenly with the blueberries. Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the berries.

Bake until the topping is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 8.

Irish Brown Bread

From the Wall Street Journal, this recipe is so easy once you get the ingredients, all of which I found at Whole Foods. I wasn’t able to find the Irish Style Flour but used whole wheat. It is a dense and crunchy bread, perfect for toasting with Irish butter and jam or a poached egg.
Irish Brown bread
3½ cups King Arthur Irish Style Flour or stone ground whole-wheat flour
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
1½ cups natural bran
1¼ cups steel-cut oats
4 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 teaspoons dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons sea salt
½ cup wheat germ
1 quart plus ½ cup buttermilk at room temperature
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl use a large spoon to mix all dry ingredients until well combined. Add buttermilk and stir until dry ingredients are evenly moist.

2. Divide dough equally between two greased loaf pans (approximately 9 or 10 inches by 5 inches).

3. Bake in middle of oven until golden and crusty, 50 minutes. Unmold and cool on a wire rack.

Goat Cheese Rosemary Biscuits

This recipe is from a local chef, Jennifer Jasinski in her book The Perfect Bite. You will need a kitchen scale to make this as you weigh the flour and cheese. The dough makes quite a few biscuits but it refrigerates or freezes well. Don’t be overwhelmed by the amount of dough-it is a little messy but press it into a lump and start rolling it out. You can use all of the scraps to make more biscuits.
IMG_0274
1 1/2# all purpose flour
2 T. baking powder
1 t. kosher salt
1/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 T. chopped fresh rosemary
6 oz. cold butter, diced
8 oz. goat cheese, crumbled small
1 1/4 c. buttermilk, plus extra for brushing
3/4 c. whole milk

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a bowl, mix together the dry ingredients including the rosemary. Add the cold butter, rubbing it into pieces with your hands so it is pea sized. Do the same with the goat cheese. Add the buttermilk and milk all at once, mixing enough to make the dough come together. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll it out about 1″ thick. Make a 4 fold by turning the 2 outside edges together into the center and then fold up like a book. Roll out again to 1″ thick and do a 3 fold (like a trifold wallet). Roll out one more time to 1″. Using a 3″ cutter, cut the biscuits. Transfer to a parchment lined pan. Brush with some buttermilk and sprinkle the tops with salt.
Bake until puffed and golden brown-about 19-20 minutes.

Welsh Tea Cakes

A wonderful recipe from Saveur This is a very nice dough you roll out to 1/4″ thickness and cut 2-3″ rounds. They cook on a dry griddle inn 6 minutes and are divine. Recipe yields about 3 dozen tea cakes. Delicious with tea or coffee!
Welsh tea cakes
5 cups flour, plus more for dusting
1 tbsp. nutmeg
5 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. kosher salt
2 cups sugar
16 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs
½ cup milk
5 oz. currants
Whisk together flour, nutmeg, baking powder, and salt in a bowl; set aside. Combine sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat on medium-high speed with a hand mixer until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Slowly add dry ingredients and milk; beat on low speed until just combined. Fold in currants. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out into a 14″ circle, about ¼”-thick. Using a 3″ round cutter, cut out cookies and place onto baking sheets. Heat a griddle over medium-high and cook cookies, flipping once, until golden, 6 minutes.