In the midst of a heat wave, I decided to make bread. There was bread in the cupboard, but that wasn’t the bread I wanted. I have to keep bread locked away because my younger cat has an obsession with it and will steal it if she can get to it, then she drags it away (it is hilarious watching her drag a big bag of rye bread between her front legs like a kitten), then she rips the bag a little (in multiple places) and nibbles on the bread. I don’t think she actually likes the taste but she cannot resist the smell. And it isn’t the yeast smell because she will steal banana bread if she can. She’s a goofy girl.
Anyway, I had bread in the cupboard but that wasn’t what I wanted – sometimes, being able to cook and bake, and having most ingredients on hand almost all the time is a curse. I don’t have to make do with what I have, I can make most anything I want so when a craving hits, I got it covered. During a heat wave, baking bread is about the dumbest craving ever, but I did it and it was good and I’d do it again!
It was just about supper time when I decided what I was making for supper and that I was going to need bread to go with it. Initially, I wanted to make no knead bread, but it was about a 2 hour commitment before it even got to the baking stage and I didn’t want to eat supper at midnight – I’ve done it and it messes up everything. So a quick bread was the way to go. I’ve made this before and it didn’t disappoint so I made it again. Also, I used the Dutch whisk and I still believe whole-heartedly that everyone who makes bread should invest in one. It mixes so well and with so little effort.
On with the show……
- 3-3/4 cups flour (if you want a richer flavour, use 2 cups all purpose flour and 1-3/4 cups whole wheat flour) You will also need a little extra flour for kneading
- 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1-1/2 tsp salt
- 2 cups buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 430F. Definitely do this before you start mixing the bread. There will be a chemical reaction between the buttermilk and the baking powder. You want to be able to get the bread into the oven before that reaction ends.
Whisk the dry ingredients together in a medium sized bowl.
Add the buttermilk. If you don’t have buttermilk, put two tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar into a measuring cup and fill the rest of the 2 cups worth with milk.
Stir until you have a difficult time stirring. Then knead the bread no more than 8-10 times, using a little bit of extra flour to stop the sticking. Don’t knead too much, this isn’t yeast bread and it isn’t going to rise and replace the air you squish out of it. Too much kneading here will make tough bread – not the end of the world, but disappointing. Place the bread onto a baking sheet or into a baking dish.
Cut a cross on the top with a sharp knife – this will make a pretty top and vent steam from within.
Put into the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Turn down the oven to 390F and bake another 20 minutes.
Take out and let it cool for about half an hour.
This is a dense, chewy bread but soooo good. Would be really good with a stew or chowder, as well.
This would make an excellent camping bread if you had a cast iron Dutch oven with a lid. The timing would be different, but put it on some coals and add some coals to the top and in a half hour or so, you’d have some great bread for lunch or supper.
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