Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Potato & Rosemary Soda Bread

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Multicultural Inspiration from... the world of baking!

On my last trip to the supermarket, I picked up a copy of the Australian Good Taste magazine on my way to the check out. I like to be surrounded by food ideas, so I figured why not?! Once we got home and unpacked all the groceries, I plonked myself on the couch and flicked through my magazine - turns out it's the "readers issue," so it's full of readers' choices of recipes, both reader tested and rated. Turns out there's also a competition running, where you can re-create the recipes in the magazine for the chance to cook-off against a few other highly awesome home cooks if your re-creation was deemed worthy by the judges. 'Maybe I'll give a few a go,' I tell myself, putting the magazine down and dragging myself off to bed before another 6am wake up call.

The next day, I wake up to my alarm and I am siiiiick :( damn. Even worse, Sous-Jeff is sick too. Dual sick day. I curl up on the couch with my magazine, flicking pages while semi-watching the TV. I see a few pictures of beautiful, soft looking bread. By 10am, I want nothing more than some warm bread with a bit of butter. But of course we don't have any. We did, thankfully, have the ingredients required to make a loaf of bread featured in the Good Taste magazine. Interestingly enough, it doesn't require yeast - just bicarb soda to make it rise... worth a try I figure! Worst that can happen is that it doesn't work and I have to drive down the road for a fresh loaf!

Here's how it went down...
  • 600g (4 cups) of self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 600ml carton of buttermilk
  • half a Baby Cream Delight potato, thinly sliced
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary, leaves picked

First up, preheat the oven to 190°C and line a baking tray with paper.

Then, I sift the flour, salt and bicarb into a bowl. Mix the together and make a well in the centre of the mix.

Time to pour the buttermilk into the centre of the well - stir it in until a dough begins to form.

Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead for a minute or two - until it's almost smooth. Shape into a log and place on baking tray - see below.

Next, take a sharp knife and cut slashes diagonally into the top of the loaf - approximately 1cm deep and 2 - 3cm apart. 

 Into the slashes, bury the thin slices of potato - I took some creative license here and included some sweet potato, because I had some and I love it! 
Overlap them slightly, and insert the rosemary too.

Time to pop it in the oven, cross my fingers and hope for the best - bread with no yeast, but bicarb soda....??!?!

40 minutes later, out it comes... Sous-Jeff and I impatiently wait for it to cool down enough for us to slice it. Finally, we can't wait any longer, and I commence my careful surgery on the loaf. Sous-Jeff grabs the butter from the fridge, knife in one hand, the other hand held out awaiting his first slice.

Oh. My. God. This bread. Is. INCREDIBLE!!! Just wow! Sous-Jeff was three bites in when he begged for more. I started slicing him another piece - no, he meant make another loaf. Every 3 days, if possible. It was soft, doughy without being undercooked, crumbly without being dry. I smelt like the sensations coming from a bakery when you walk past first thing in the morning, and the first loaves are coming out. It was just so delicious, and the butter just brought out the rosemary and potato flavours and made them really pop without taking over from them bread.

I'm sure the bread purists out there who are used to working with proper bread flour and yeast will be having conniptions, but I swear on Donna Hay, this is the absolute BEST bread I have EVER had. And I'm a wog, so I've had a LOT of bread! Try it. Now. Quick!


  1. Great blog Jess – glad you liked the bread. It's one of our favourites, too. We posted a link to your blog on our Facebook page(!/australiangoodtaste). Cheers Julie (Deputy editor, Australian Good Taste magazine)

  2. Ohh wow, thank you so much for the shout out Julie! I'm such a huge fan of the magazine, and very excited for my little blog to be noticed by you! I really admire your work and hope to one day work in the industry too! So, if you're ever after a guest columnist, you know where to find me :)

  3. Thank you Jess, you were an inspiration not just for me, but also for a few others. I toured the shelves looking for buttermilk to make this tonight and it's in the oven looking beautiful. Please feel free to trial cook anything else, so that I can feel a little bit more confident cooking things. Beautiful photos too.

  4. You're so kind, thank you :) How did your bread turn out?! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did! I'm so happy I was able to inspire you to get cooking, and I will keep on cooking and photographing away, so please keep coming back to visit!