Bread and baking

One of the smells that truly sings of home and home pride to me is bread fresh baked, crunching out of the oven, slightly cooled add butter let that melt on and eat. I hope like me your meltinh with a craving for bread like that of the urge during the hurricane, or breadgate as I viewed it.

I suppose with my background and family where there was great bakers on both sides both grandparents and my own mother, so I suppose I’m predisposed to good bread, bad bread would not be tolerated, that’s shocking or disgusting followed swiftly by a trip to the yard for the birds or the dog whichever got it first. My only mistake in bread at home undercooked.

Some say it’s a science, others an art, others a feeling, then there are those that just know. I’m not in the latter 2 I’m more of it being an art and a feeling, aswell as therapy. To me there’s something about turning your hand into a claw and mixing all the dry ingredients, then it gets fun add the wet and it gets messy for a bit until it all comes together, into a beautiful batter or dough depending on your bread, the brown bread I make is quite wet and the white quite dry, then the yeast breads they need work by my own admission not my strong suit, can I make them yes I can are they gonna make you think OMG this is amazing no, not by a long shot, this is nice is about the reaction I get.
Just a week ago I was making bread and looked at my hand, bits of dough bits of flour and I thought hands like nans, just the way I looked at them its what I saw my nan still bakes a few cakes of bread every few days. Home cooking still brings me down, from the restaurant food I’m used to cooking, makes me more humble and ambitious to achieve this sentiment in tbe restaurant, I want to bring people to their childhood, nans cooking or moms cooking depending on your age will decide where you stand on that one.

As an Irish Culchee there’s an affinity with bread, as a staple for breakfast lunch and dinner, thats fine as long as it’s not possessed to death, if you can’t pronounce any of the ingredients on your recipe or ingredients list don’t get it. My bread has a number of ingredients depending on which I’m making, none of which is 6 syllables in length and looks like a medical condition or its photocopied from a box of antibiotics.

During the hurricane and the storm that ensued I walked into the supermarket and passed the bread aisle, what’s left is gluten free, that’s another story. I picked up 2 of my ingredients as I already had the rest and bumped into an old secondary school teacher, after a short chat which ended in but you’ve the skill to make it, there’s tonnes of recipes out there pick one. The four base ingredients I use are flour, sugar, bread soda and buttermilk. Basic Irish soda bread no salt no tricks no fancy machines bowl and hands and a tray or a bread tin.

To everyone bread is different some like it sweet some not so here’s a rough recipe not exact 500g flour 2 table spoons sugar 2 teaspoons bread soda approx 200ml buttermilk.

Mix all the dry ingredients
Add half buttermilk and mix add little by little until it all forms together into a ball.
Dust a tray with flour or put greaseproof of baking parchment on a tray
Shape the dough to a round or square shape. Score the dough to a cross shape or a square in the middle.

Bake about 45 mins @180
Its done when you can hear its “heartbeat” when tapped it should sound hollow.

As always follow our social media on all platforms @croitralee or myself @chefpaulc

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