Soda Bread--With a Surprise
Making this recipe not only results in a delicious taste treat but it
reminds us how blessed we are. For this recipe is an enhanced version
of a bread made by the poor back in the old days. Serving this allows
us to meditate on the good things we have now that only the very well
off could afford a hundred or so years ago.
Gather together with some peaceful friends and serve this bread while
you think about these verses:
"Better is a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and
trouble with it. Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a
fattened ox and hatred with it" (Proverbs 15:16-17, ESV). And, "Better
is a dry morsel with quiet than a house full of feasting with strife"
(Proverbs 17:1, ESV). The deliciousness of an elaborate feast lasts for
maybe an hour, while the hurt of unkind words or expressions of
contempt can last for years, even a lifetime.
And besides, we know that we don't live by bread alone (Matthew 4:4,
Deuteronomy 8:3). Life is more than eating, so whether we have much or
little we should be content.
Those just now
considering the prospect of marriage should ask themselves, "Would I
rather spend my life arguing with a critical, disagreeable, wealthy
spouse while the filet mignon grows cold on the plate, or spend my life
listening to funny stories and interesting news of the day from my
spouse of modest means, while eating fried chicken?
In fact, if you are experiencing stress or strife in a relationship at
work, at home, or with a friend, make this bread and invite that person
to share it with you while you talk about the need and value for
kindness and harmony.
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dried apricots (that's the
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 1/4 cups cold buttermilk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
2/3 cup dried apricots
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with
Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Add
the butter and mix on low speeed until the butter is mixed into the
flour. Don't be afraid to get your fingers in the mixture to
thoroughly mix the butter with the flour.
Lightly beat the buttermilk, egg, and orange zest together in a small
bowl. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the buttermilk
mixture to the flour mixture. Combine the dried apricots
with a little less than 1 tablespoon of flour (this technique is to
prevent the apricots from sticking together) and mix into the
dough. It will be very wet.
Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and knead it a few times into
a round loaf. Place the loaf on the prepared sheet pan and
lightly cut across the top of the bread (like a cross shape) with a
serrated knife. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out
clean. When you tap the loaf, it will have a hollow sound.
Cool on a baking rack. You can serve warm. The bread tastes
best the same day as it was baked.
The photograph here shows the detail of the inside of the loaf, with
the dried apricot pieces showing. The apricot pieces are the surprise
of the recipe, since they were not included in the orginal recipes.
Enhancing simple things with a touch of taste is one of the principles
So, the advice is to eat the bread the same day it was baked, eh?
Does that imply that is might not be scarfed down immedidtely?
Well, you can see in this picture that once the bread is properly
prepared, the mouth can be faster than the
camera. Here you see a slice of the bread with a little butter and some
strawberry jelly on it. But I will tell you the real secret to make
this bread glow in the dark (exaggeration copyright 2013 by me). It's
the same as the scone-preparation technique.
Step one. Cut a slice of
this bread about an inch thick.
Step two. Spread a layer of real butter
about one eighth of an inch thick all across the bread.
Spread a layer of jam or jelly over the butter, about a quarter of an
inch thick (apricot would be a nice compliment to this particular
version, but any flavor you like is legal).
Step four. Spread a layer
of heavy whipping cream, whipped stiff, over the layer of jelly, about
half an inch thick.
Step five. Eat with a cup of hot tea. Yes, it's
messy, it might be drippy, it probably has a few calories tucked in
there somewhere, but it is goooooood.
Other recipes of note
Chicken Salad Tea Sandwiches
Very Raspberry Very Merry Coffee Cake with
Spinach and Bacon Quiche
Lemon Cupcake Surprise
Quadruple Chocolate Brownies
Intensely Lemon Cookies
Macaroni and Cheese Supreme
v i r t u a l t e a t i m e . c o m
Copyright 2013 Marie Harris
All Rights Reserved