The Daring Bakers' February 2012 host was DB co-founder Lisa. The lovely Lisa asked us to make a quick bread. What is a quick bread? Well, it's basically bread that is quick to make since it requires no fermentation/rise and no kneading. Quick bread is leavened not by a starter or yeast, but by baking soda, baking powder, and/or eggs.
I was fourteen when I made my first quick bread. My best friend showed me how to make zucchini bread and it was an eye-opening experience. I was amazed that zucchini could be used to make bread. I was equally amazed that putting it all together was so quick and easy.
For the challenge we were free to make any quick bread loaf, muffin or popover as long as it doesn't take more than 90 minutes to prepare and bake through. I decided to make soda bread which is pretty much "textbook" as far as quick breads are concerned. The most basic version of soda bread contains only flour, salt, buttermilk, and baking soda (hence the name). Baking soda, a base, reacts with the buttermilk, an acid, to create carbon dioxide and your loaf rises.
The soda bread I made is by no means traditional or authentic. I wanted to add dried fruit or nuts to the dough, but I opted for lighter additions like poppy seeds and orange zest. My soda bread tasted like an unsweetened poppy seed orange muffin, which was strange initially, but I got used it to very quickly. The low flour to buttermilk ratio and the addition of sugar and butter to the dough (which slightly tenderizes it) definitely took it away from biscuit/scone territory towards muffin territory.
I also tried my hand at a gluten-free quick bread. Using this pumpkin bread recipe as a starting point, I made a coconut sweet potato loaf. I used sweet potato puree instead of pumpkin, a bit of coconut flour in place of some of the almond flour, and added some shredded coconut.
Umm, let's just say it looked okay, but did not did taste okay. The only one that wanted to eat it was my cat.
Gluten-free baking is not something to tinker with unless you know what you are doing and clearly I do not. But if you want to see my recipe, I have included it at the bottom of this post.
Blog-checking lines: The Daring Bakers’ February 2012 host was – Lis! Lisa stepped in last minute and challenged us to create a quick bread we could call our own. She supplied us with a base recipe and shared some recipes she loves from various websites and encouraged us to build upon them and create new flavor profiles.
Poppy Seed Orange Zest Soda Bread
(Makes two 3x5-inch loaves)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
pinch of kosher salt
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
1 cup (8 fl oz) buttermilk
2 tablespoons melted butter, divided
additional butter and flour for preparing the loaf pans
Preheat oven to 375F. Butter and flour two 3x5-inch loaf pans.
Sift the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt into a large bowl. Mix in poppy seeds, brown sugar, and orange zest.
Stir in the buttermilk and gently combine. Stir in 1 tablespoon melted butter. Your dough may look a bit shaggy but that's just fine.
Scrap half of the dough into each of your two prepared loaf pans. Smooth the tops as best you can. Drizzle with remaining melted butter. (The bread will rise while baking in the oven and might overflow. I like to place my loaf pans on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any drips.)
Bake at 375F for 25 minutes. Then reduce the oven temperature to 325F and bake for another 8 to 12 minutes or until cooked through. (Test by inserting a skewer into the center of the loaf. When it comes out clean the bread is done.)
Cool in pans on a wire rack for about 15 minutes. Carefully remove from pans.
Soda bread recipe adapted from Cook Almost Anything
Gluten-Free Coconut Sweet Potato Bread
2/3 cup blanched almond flour (I used Bob's Red Mill brand)
1/3 cup coconut flour (I used Bob's Red Mill brand)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup sweet potato puree (canned or homemade)
1/4 cup honey
3 large eggs
1/3 cup shredded unsweetened dried coconut
Preheat oven to 350F.
Combine almond flour, coconut flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
Mix in the sweet potato puree, honey and eggs.
Mix in the shredded coconut.
Spread batter evenly into a 7.5 x 3.5 x 2 - inch loaf pan.
Bake at 350F for 35-45 minutes.
Cool for 1 hour.