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Author Notes: This is the very simplest of soda bread recipes, easy to remember and quite forgiving if you don't have exact ingredients, but strangely addictive, something about the way the wheat and nuts harmonize with the chewiness of the oats. It uses no shortening and no sweetener. You'll be tempted to mess with it but it should be tried as written just once, and eaten plain to see what I mean. After that you may try with cream cheese and sweet fruit, or cajeta for breakfast or dessert. More than the sum of its parts. —Starmade
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup unbleached white flour
- 1 cup semolina, or another cup of white or whole wheat flour, or a mix (NB if semolina is used, you may not need all the liquid)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 cups buttermilk or yogurt thinned with milk or whole milk soured with lemon juice
- 1 handful walnuts broken up a bit with your fingers
- Preheat oven to 375.
- Mix up all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. You can play around with the grains a bit, but some whole wheat flour is important; I've used all whole wheat, which works, but makes it a bit heavier. Do use real rolled oats in all their chewy integrity, not quick cooking ones. Toss in the nuts when the flour, salt and leavening ingredients are well mixed up. I never actually measure the nuts, just keep breaking them into the bowl till it looks right.
- Add the acidulated dairy product slowly. Start with 1 and 1/2 cups, and stop when you have a workable dough. Especially if semolina is used - or other unusual flours, or if the buttermilk is unusually liquid - you may not need all of it. Stir, then mix with your hands to thoroughly incorporate the liquid. You can dump out on a floured board, but you don't have to. If you knead in the bowl, you can flour your hands and/or sprinkle the dough with a little flour if it looks too gloppy to touch at first. Be careful not to overmix, and knead as little as possible.
- Sprinkle a layer of rolled oats on the bottom of a dry cast iron pan or pie pan or baking sheet. Gather dough into a ball and drop it into the pan, forming it into a slightly flattened round shape. You need to cut into it to help it expand; the standard cut is a cross on top, but two slashes work as well.
- Put in oven and bake 45-50 minutes. Cool on rack, slice when no longer hot. Stays good for a few days.
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