A loaf of caraway seed soda bread
#100daysofcooking, Recipes

Day 51: Loaves, wishes and seeds of inspiration


Caraway Seed Soda Bread


Well, look at that. It’s Day 51, meaning the Kitchen Castoffs 100-day project is officially half over.

The kitchen cupboards, on the other hand, are mostly empty.

Planning meals around ingredients that are already in the house has precipitated great changes in how we buy groceries. Our basic list of household staples is serving us well. “Special” items make it into the basket when we’ve got a specific recipe that won’t hold up to substitution or omission.

And you probably thought this was all very spur of the moment.

Anyway, our emptying cupboards are both gratifying and worrisome. Awesome from a “Waste not, want not” point of view. And worrisome in the  “Oh crap, what I am making today?” sense.

Caraway seeds
Caraway seeds

But the blog gods move in mysterious ways. A small trickle of castoffs from other kitchens have made their way into my hands. A few friends and readers have chimed in with recipe ideas. And, as is the case with today’s recipe, my project has inspired others to root around in their cupboards, find something old and make something new.

My friend Helen did exactly that, then posted a photo on Facebook showing off a fresh-baked loaf of caraway seed soda bread. Her “castoff” ingredient was the caraway seeds, which she says she uses about once a year in making Russian-style borscht.

Hmm. Caraway seeds.

And just like that, a caraway seed planted on Facebook turned into inspiration, which turned into a lovely loaf of warm soda bread on a wintry afternoon. Loaves and wishes, indeed.

Kitchen castoff used

Caraway seeds

Caraway seed soda bread
Caraway seed soda bread

This is how we did it

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 3½ cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1½ cups buttermilk (or make your own version by combining 1 cup milk,½ cup plain yogurt and 1 tbsp white vinegar

Method

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees, and lightly grease a baking sheet.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, sugar and caraway seeds.

Use two forks, a pastry blender or your fingers to cut in the butter until the mixture is like a coarse meal.

Use a pastry blender to cut in the butter
Use a pastry blender to cut in the butter

Make a well in the flour and pour in the buttermilk, or yogurt-milk-vinegar mixture, and use your hands or a wooden spoon to fold the flour into the liquid until it is mixed into a “shaggy dog” kind of affair. Then move the dough onto a floured surface and knead it lightly a couple of times until it is shaped into a round loaf. (Avoid over-mixing or over-kneading during these steps.)

Place the dough on the prepared baking sheet and score a big X into the top, cutting in about 1 to 1-1/2 inches. This allows the dough in the middle to cook.

Cook for 15 minutes at 450, then turn the heat down to 400 and bake for another 25 minutes or so.

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