It's HARD to get it right, isn't it?
There is definitely a trick and an art to making homemade bread. When all the recipes I have tried, failed me miserably I set out to ask those who have mastered it. Every individual I seek advice from has given me different tips, tricks, and advice. Every one makes bread differently! If the process wasn't difficult enough, none of any one's tricks came to my rescue. Instead, I have a rock hard, dense loaf of nothing that resembles bread! Is it possible that bread is just out of my wheel house? It can't be!!
I continue to fight the battle and still to this day have yet to get it right. (Although it has gotten better!) I don't know at this point if I will spend my entire life never getting it right or if I will have this "ahhh haaa," moment in my near future. Either way, I refuse to give up. I will keep trying. Why not? It can't get worse, (well maybe it could,) but I just can't stop now.
Until I hit that nail on the head, the lovely Ina Garten, of Barefoot Contessa has an Irish soda bread that I use as my "cheater." Since you don't have knead the dough and let it rise, this recipe makes me feel like I can KIND OF make bread. Trust me, if I can make this recipe and it tastes good... you can too!
Irish Soda Bread
Makes: One round loaf
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter,
cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 3/4 cups cold butter milk, shaken
1 extra large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
Preheat the oven to 375°F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is mixed into the flour.
With a fork, light beat the buttermilk, egg, and orange zest together. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture.
Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead it a few times into a round loaf. Place the loaf on the prepared sheet pan and lightly cut an X into the dough. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. When you tap the loaf, it should sound hollow.
Cool on baking rack and serve warm or at room temperature.
In honor of Ina, I have to say it! How easy is that?
It really was the easiest bread recipe I have ever come across. Again, it will get me through until I finally find a "trick," that will work for me on the REAL bread making process.
Hope you all are well!
Source: Ina Garten