Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Irish Soda Bread and Breadsticks

I simply have no idea what I am doing, this will truly be a work in progress! I am not as computer literate as I would like to be-- for instance I can't figure out how on earth to get the title on my blog to be centered! It's driving me nuts! lol And I am not sure about the format and all,so things may change as I learn!

I never thought of myself doing a blog; perhaps a little inspired by the recent Julie and Julia movie that I loved! Everyone that knows me is aware that I enjoy cooking and have a definite passion for baking; trust me it wasn't always that way!!

Recently, I have decided to try the vegan lifestyle in order to jumpstart my metabolism that doesn't seem to want to budge and get these 10 pounds off that have been around since my last child was born. Hello--- that has been almost 13 years! My personal goal is to get these 10 pounds off and be back at my college weight by my oldest daughters highschool graduation May 16th. I'm hoping that cutting out my beloved meat and dairy will help be healthier as well. Not sure if I will make it a week or not but I am going to try.

Tonight, I practiced cooking recipes for some upcoming kids classes I am teaching at the Culinary Center. I practiced a couple chicken finger recipes, pizza recipes, breadsticks using one of the pizza doughs, and Irish Soda bread as one of my classes is on St. Patty's Day and I want the kids to make a mini loaf to take home. I was a good girl and didn't try any of the things I made and let the family be the test testers. Wow it was tough-- especially when I made them dark chocolate fudgey brownies for dessert. For myself I made a Couscous Confetti Salad- yummy!! And my husband Scott really enjoyed it too;the kids said gross and wouldn't try it. Now, onto the recipes I made! Well, I will post a couple tonight-

Amazingly Easy Irish Soda Bread - from

4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup margarine, softened
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup buttermilk

1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a large baking sheet.
2.In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and margarine. Stir in 1 cup of buttermilk and egg. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly. Form dough into a round and place on prepared baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine melted butter with 1/4 cup buttermilk; brush loaf with this mixture. Use a sharp knife to cut an 'X' into the top of the loaf.
3.Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 30 to 50 minutes. You may continue to brush the loaf with the butter mixture while it bakes.

MY COOKS TIPS: I want the kids to take home a small one for St.Patty's Day- so I made them in the small disposable foil pans. The dough divided into 5 of those. Also, no buttermilk in the house- so I used my standard substitution for that- 1 cup buttermilk w/ 1 Tablespoon vinegar. Let it sit a few minutes and it thickens up.

Family Critique- Scott loved it, said it was GREAT! The kids wouldn't try it as they said their stomachs were going to blow up from everything else they tried tonight. Maybe they will try it tomorrow.

Soft Garlic Breadsticks - from
1 1/8 cups water (70 to 80 degrees F)
2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon minced fresh basil
3 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon butter or stick margarine, melted

1.In bread machine pan, place the first nine ingredients in order suggested by manufacturer. Select dough setting (check dough after 5 minutes of mixing; add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water or flour if needed). When cycle is completed, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into 20 portions. Shape each into a ball; roll each into a 9-in. rope. Place on greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 40 minutes or until doubled. Bake at 350 degrees F for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks. Brush warm breadsticks with butter.

I did this the old fashioned way. Mixed the water, sugar and yeast and let stand for 10 min. I used one entire package of active dry yeast. I then put the oil, garlic, cheese, dry basil into the flour and salt mixture. I then added the yeast mixture. I think I made them entirely too big. I was tired at this point and just trying to get them done before Ashley went to work. I cut the dough in half to use half for breadsticks and half for a pizza to see what that tasted like as crust. Forgot to add the butter after it came out of oven. Oops!

Well, they didn't love them. They said it needed way more garlic and butter. Keep in mind we LOVE garlic at our house. They said it mostly tasted like bread, good bread but not a nice soft fluffy breadstick. Next time I will try fresh garlic instead of the powder the recipe called for. (If I try this breadstick recipe again) And I will make some garlic butter to put over them when I get out of the oven. I made homemade pizza sauce and they dunked the breadsticks into that. Out of the 6 I made, there are 3 1/2 left. I wasn't able to try it as it had the parmesan cheese in there! I do like that it is a simple dough kids can make and use for breadsticks or pizza.

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