Whole Wheat and Oat Soda Bread
(Adapted from Saveur’s version, with apologies)
-1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
-1/2 cup rolled oats
-1/4 cup almond meal (optional)
-1 tbs brown sugar
-1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2-1 tsp baking soda (I erred on the side of more)
- 2 tbs cold butter
-1/2 cup sliced almonds (optional, but delicious)
-1 egg, beaten
-1 cup buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 425°, and grease a baking sheet (I recommend covering it with aluminum foil or parchment first to make cleanup easier). Mix the flour, oats, almond meal, sugar, salt, and baking soda into a bowl. Slice the butter piece by piece into the mixture and use two knives in a scissoring/slicing motion, sliding against each other in opposite directions, to combine it all into a mealy mess. Jasper taught me how to do this and I have to say it’s kind of fun, and more than a little bit useful: once you’ve got the flour-butter-scissors-shoot game in the bag, there’s no end to the unhealthy stuff you can make (scones, pie, quiche, etc.). Anyway, now you should add the almonds. You can use raisins to make a more traditional Irish Soda Bread, but that would require you to not devour every raisin in the cupboard when you get home from a particularly strenuous yoga class the day before.
Beat the egg in a small bowl and add the buttermilk, stirring to combine. Add the egg/buttermilk liquid to the dry, mealy mess and mix them all together. It will get even messier and will become increasingly difficult to stir, at which point you should dispense with your spoon and grab the mess with floured hands. Form it into something resembling a floury ball of dough, and plop it down on the greased baking sheet. Pat a little more flour on to the top and carve an X (about 1/2 inch deep) on top to mark the spot where, in around half an hour, you’ll lose control and devour the whole thing without offering any to JM or Lara. Just kidding. The X just means it’s straightedge and is judging you harshly for downing that glass of whiskey on the rocks, even though it’s St. Patrick’s Day and, like, really close to being noon.
Put the bread in the oven and bake it for about 20-25 minutes, until it’s pretty brown on top and sounds hollow when tapped. Serve it with something green, like a spinach salad with spearmint from Jen K’s garden, along with blueberries and cantaloupe (with blue representing the Druids, and orange representing the Protestants), because holiday lunch is all about the drastically oversimplified representation of entire groups of people via monochromatic fruits and vegetables.