Each Thursday, Emily Vikre (a.k.a fiveandspice) will be sharing a new way to love breakfast -- because breakfast isn't just the most important meal of the day. It's also the most awesome.
Today: The quickest soda bread you can make -- with a bonus serving of vegetables.
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There is really nothing quite so lovely as home-baked bread, but yeast breads are a bit tricky. Yeast is alive and can be temperamental; you have to get to know its personality before you work with it, because it will behave differently from day to day. Plus, there’s the whole time thing -- sure, much of it is hands-off wait time, so it’s not hard, but it does take planning ahead. And let’s face it: Planning ahead does not always happen.
Soda bread was invented, I do believe, for those moments when your soul longs for fresh bread, but your mind did not plan ahead. A basic soda bread is so quick and easy to pull together -- you can practically have a loaf in the oven by the time a bread-related thought fully forms in your mind. Thirty or forty minutes later, a gorgeous, crusty loaf is yours.
This loaf is particularly easy. The recipe is downright austere: It has no butter or oil, no eggs or sugar. You dump some flour, salt, and baking soda in a bowl; stir in grated carrots, raisins, and buttermilk; dump it in a pan, and bake. You end up with a fantastic sweet-savory loaf, flecked with orange confetti (or if you’re using multicolored carrots, you get bits of purple and green as well, which is fun).
If you are expecting the kind of carrots-in-baked-goods flavor you get in a carrot cake or carrot muffin, you will be surprised -- that flavor is really cinnamon, and you won’t find it here. The flavor in this bread is pure carrot, the flavor of soil and starch, and it’s quite wonderful. Especially when spread thickly with butter. Add a smidge of sharp cheddar, plus some milky coffee or tea, and breakfast is served.
I like to say I'm a lazy iron chef (I just cook with what I have around), renegade nutritionist, food policy wonk, and inveterate butter and cream enthusiast! My husband and I own a craft distillery in Northern Minnesota called Vikre Distillery (www.vikredistillery.com), where I claimed the title, "arbiter of taste." I also have a doctorate in food policy, for which I studied the changes in diet and health of new immigrants after they come to the United States. I myself am a Norwegian-American dual citizen. So I have a lot of Scandinavian pride, which especially shines through in my cooking on special holidays. Beyond loving all facets of food, I'm a Renaissance woman (translation: bad at focusing), dabbling in a variety of artistic and scientific endeavors.