Breads 27 & 28: Irish soda bread and German pretzels

First, I am cooking a Medieval feast and, Londoners, you should come along. It’s going to be fabulously different and fun. Now, on with bread…

When I was new to bread-making I bought a lot of flour without being at all clear on what I needed. It was all good fun, but now I have about 15 bags that are expiring any week now. Such is the price of  profligate trips to distant mills and Waitroses and Wholefoods.

First, I got going on this excellent recipe for Irish soda bread by Dan Lepard. (I bought the book it comes from, The Handmade Loaf and am in love. More on that another time, I’m sure.) I say excellent, I actually didn’t follow it because I had a neglected bag of flaked wheat to use up. I added 100g of that, cut the 50g of fine oatmeal and upped the buttermilk by 50g.

soda bread

This tasted fantastic: crumbly, rich, oaty (despite no oats!), lovely crunchy crust… Wait, this just sounds like a description of soda bread, doesn’t? Look, I don’t know what it was, but it was just so good and homely. Maybe it was that extra coarse Shipton Mill wholemeal that I’d been saving for so long. This loaf is very quick, a refreshing change from those six-hour sourdoughs. Mix and bake. That’s it.

Next, pretzels! Inspired, of course, by GBBO. I only made the savoury ones. In answer to your questions: yes, tying a pretzel is as tricky as they make it look on the programme and, no, I did not do mine by flipping the dough in the air. I needed to make the dough snakes a bit longer, which would mean all the pretzels had holes like the bottom lefthand one, but otherwise these were a success.


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