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Monday, March 16, 2015

Write With Me: A Tale of Two Flours and Mary Pat's Irish Soda Bread

         Love Finding This Flour of Forgotten Flours from the UK and Bakery Bits! 

The past few quiet and snowy months I've been working on revisions to my novel, The Way of Psomi.

There were two flours to contend with. Two ways of making bread.

I donned my red cloak and left home to search for who was right. Who was wrong. How bread could inspire such complexities. Bread by nature was simplicity.

Meet the first flour.

(Back before there were gluten allergies. In the time when grains were truly ancient, because well, everything was.) 

And in all good and compelling stories there was a problem. 

Meet the second flower. Was this the big problem?

Alas, no. Well, maybe. But, I don't think so.  

So, I readied for the Floral Games; nervously as I was sure to meet the problem. And to meet the challenge; joining the flour and the flower.   

And here especially for St. Patrick's Day I offer this delicious Cherry'd Millet and Cardamom Raisin Bread.  Practically problem free.

The Two Flours: Dark and Light

Bird Seed: Cherry Juice

Millet: Floating in the Red Sea

Millet: Its Goose Cooked With Raisins (actually, it is vegetarian)

Tamarind: Strained Free of Pits

The Loaf of Two Flours

The Split Loaf From Above with the Recipe Below

Mary Pat's Famous Irish Soda Bread with Cherry'd Millet, Cardamom and a little Tamarind Sesame Ginger Butter

This recipe originated from my very good and irish-as-the-day-is-long friend, Mary Pat Kiernan. Her wonderful bread had seen me through many trials and tribulations in the “just graduated from CIA” days. We worked together as private chefs in the Colorado Mountains near Gunnison and later, when our services were no longer needed, she would make her family's bread every time I came to visit her in Denver from Colorado Springs. We explored the Larimer Square scene fortified with coffee and her bread.

I’ve revised this recipe a bit, and changed up the flour as per my research for Psomi, but I think she’d still like it! The cross cut on top before baking is designed to let the devil out, but it also helps the loaf expand without cracking.

makes 1 loaf
2 cups sifted cake flour
1 cup einkorn flour
2 cups Lammas Fayre maslin flour
1 cup organic oats
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder                              
1/4 cup butter                     
1/4 cup honey

pinch of salt
1 t caraway seeds
1 /2 tsp cardamom seeds
1 cup millet
1 cup raisins
1 cup cherry juice
2 cups water

1 egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/3 cup buttermilk

tamarind ginger and sesame butter
1 cup sweet butter, plugra if possible
1/3 cup raw sugar
pinch of coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
1 teaspoon tamarind paste
2 teaspoons sesame seeds

to prepare millet:
in a medium saucepan, bring the 2 cups water and 1 cup cherry juice to a boil, add a pinch of salt, the caraway and cardamom, raisins and the 1 cup of millet. bring to a second boil, lower the heat and simmer for 20 -25 minutes.  pour the cooked millet into a large mixing bowl to cool slightly. (this should make about 2 1/2 cups cooked millet.) add the 1/2 cup honey and stir well

make the soda bread
mix together the first six ingredients. cut in the butter with a pastry blender or with your hands until mixture resembles coarse meal.

when cool add in the cooked millet and raisins. stir the baking soda, egg, and buttermilk together in a separate bowl, mixing well. combine this with the bowl ingredients stirring until all ingredients are thoroughly moistened. turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead about five minutes. shape dough into a round loaf; place on a greased baking sheet. using a sharp knife, cut a cross 1/4 inch deep on top of loaf; lightly
sprinkle cross with flour.

bake at 350 degrees for 60-70 minutes or until bread sounds hollow
when tapped, and a small knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  remove from baking sheet and cool completely on wire rack.

make the butter
place the butter in a crockery bowl and then over a shelf on the stove to soften from the oven’s heat. when soft, blend in sugar, paste, spices, and seeds. transfer the mixture to a small crock and place in a cool spot till it firms up a bit.

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