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3/17/2018 - My slightly modified version of River Cottage soda bread is good even with blackstrap molasses


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My slightly modified version of River Cottage soda bread is good even with blackstrap molasses
Saturday, March 17th, 2018
16:01:53 GMT

Blog Post by Apollia, owner and administrator of Non24.Com and Non24.Org

Today I made soda bread using a slightly modified version of a recipe from The River Cottage Bread Handbook.

There's a similar but different recipe, which takes longer to cook, on their website:

Soda bread

Thanks to the authors!

I never made soda bread before, and I wasn't sure I was going to like it, so I reduced the amount of the ingredients to roughly 1/4th of the original amounts.

I preheated the oven to 400 degrees, then I mixed together all the dry ingredients first, in my big ceramic pasta bowl.

1 cup of flour (I used whole wheat graham flour instead of white flour), 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of baking powder (which I wasn't sure was going to work because it had an expiration date in Feb. 2014! But, it seems like it worked fine).

Then I added an item that wasn't in the recipe. (Except I notice now that the recipe's variation section suggested a tablespoonful of "dark molasses", but I don't think that means blackstrap, judging by this page.) I put in just 1 spoonful of blackstrap molasses, because I didn't want to risk ruining the bread with too much of that foul stuff.

However, I found out recently that blackstrap molasses is actually an ingredient in some pumpernickel bread recipes, so, maybe the worst thing that would have happened would have been, my bread would've turned out a bit more like pumpernickel?

Here's my blog post on why I've been trying to consume more blackstrap molasses:

Blackstrap Molasses, Iron and Ferritin Deficiency, Menstrual Health, and a Yummy Dessert Recipe

Finally, I put in some buttermilk - at first just 1/3rd of a cup, but I soon found that wasn't enough to make all the dry ingredients moist enough to knead into dough, so I added some unmeasured but small amounts more, alternating between trying to knead it, and adding small amounts of buttermilk, until it seemed probably moist enough.

I mixed the ingredients together a bit with a spoon, but mostly kneaded the dough with my hands, which didn't take long at all. I shaped it into a somewhat oval shape about 2 inches high or maybe a bit less. I skipped dusting rye flour (or any other flour) all over it.

I didn't have a baking sheet, so I used my ceramic casserole dish, which I greased up with organic raw coconut oil, which prevented sticking pretty well - only a couple small parts of the bread got a bit attached to the dish, and detaching them wasn't hard at all. I used so much coconut oil that the bottom of the bread tasted a little coconutty, but I liked it.

With a spoon's handle, I drew some intersecting lines in the top of the dough and poked it in random spots. Then I let it cook for 25 minutes.

The result was definitely bread! Being so inexperienced with making bread, I had been afraid my modifications might somehow result in a dry brick, especially since I let it cook for a full 25 minutes (though the book had said 20 to 25 minutes) - but, it was quite fine.

Somewhat dense, and chewy on the inside, with a crunchier exterior. Bland in a good, traditionally bread-like way. And, probably fortunately, I couldn't detect the taste or smell of blackstrap molasses at all - neither its foulness nor its sweetness. It also didn't remind me of graham crackers, despite the fact that it was made with whole wheat graham flour.

At first, I was tempted to put extra salt on it, but, just putting a lot of butter on it made it quite good. It is still pretty chewy on the inside after cooling down, and the crunchier exterior is still good too.

It was pretty quick and easy to make, so I probably will make this again, though I'll probably make a larger quantity if my relatives also like it.

Or maybe a slightly smaller quantity if I'm making it for just myself, so I can eat it all at once with no leftovers.

Definitely a good, tasty way for me to increase my consumption of blackstrap molasses! Very easy, too. That was the first time I ever tried to make soda bread, and it turned out quite well, I think.

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Note by Apollia on Nov. 8, 2023: Please join my Patreon if you'd like to support me and my work!