Wednesday, 19 October 2011

bread baking day

The last few days I have been spending my days helping a friend set up a halloween attraction on a farm. The farm is an entertainment farm which caters to tourist and educational groups. the tours are lots of fun with everything from bog swimming to baking. They make an amazing brown bread which I felt the need to bake today. It might be just because I am Irish but I think Irish brown soda bread is the most delicious bread ever. If you are ever in Ireland and want to try something different you should consider going to Causey Farm
Since I was making a mess in the kitchen anyways I thought I might as well cook my second favourite bread which is a chorizo, sundried tomato and thyme bread

Irish brown soda bread
3 cups of plain flour
2 cups of wholewheat flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp bread soda (bicarb)
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups of buttermilk
butter to grease tin.

Sieve both flours, salt and bread soda into a mixing bowl.
Mix the dry ingredients to combine and aerate.
Add the eggs and buttermilk and mix to a smooth consistency.
Grease a 2lb or 2 1lb loaf tins.
If using a 2lb tin add the mix to the tin and if using a 1lb tin divide the mixture evenly between the 2 tins.

Bake at 180°c or 355°f for 30 minutes. with 10 minutes to go take the bread out of the oven, take out of the tin and put it back in upside down. Bake for the final 10 minutes. To check if the bread is cooked simply pierce with a scewer and if it comes out clean its cooked. Wrap the cooked bread in a tea towel to ensure you get a nice soft crust.

Chorizo, sundried tomato and thyme bread
500g bread flour
2 tsp salt
1 sachet fast action yeast
300ml water
4 sprigs of fresh thyme leaves
50g chopped chorizo
4 pieces of sundried tomato diced
1 tbsp veg oil  for greasing
3 tbsp milk for glazing

Sieve the flour and salt into a mixing bowl and add the yeast, mix gently to combine and aerate.
Add water to the flour and knead into a dough. knead for 10 minutes by hand or 5 minutes with a machine.
We now add the chorizo, tomato and thyme and knead for another minute or 2 until they are combined and well mixed through the bread.
On a flour dusted work surface roll the dough into a ball and flatten out into an oval roughly 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch thick.
Using a knife cut slashes in the loaf to make it look like a fern leaf, open the slashes with your hand.

Place the bread on a floured baking tray and cover with lightly greased cling film. Put the tray in a warm area to rise for roughly an hour. it should nearly double in size.
Once the dough has risen glaze it with the milk and bake at 180c or 355f  for 35 minutes. I usually put a small ovenproof container of water in the oven with the bread for the first 10 minutes to prevent the crust getting too crispy.
When the bread is cooked wrap in a teatowel to preven the crust getting too crispy.

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