Healthy Cooking – Scottish Soda Bread with a Twist
Scottish Soda Bread is a tender, crumbly, biscuit-like bread that can be started an hour before mealtime. I really love it when you can quickly whip up something this delicious, masha’Allah. I found this recipe for Scottish Soda Bread in a book entitled “Great Natural Breads Made Easy“.
Before I go on, I must mention that I always get my cookbooks from the library. Then, I have a keepers test. If I like a recipe, I put a piece of paper between the pages. I usually then just try the recipe and if it’s a keeper – I put it in my online cookbook. If a book is full of pieces of paper – I know that is definitely a book to purchase. This was one of those books for keeps. And – I must mention – after trying many of the recipes in the book – it is even more of a keeper. The recipes are just wonderful, masha’Allah. My family has loved everything I have made from this book!
Anyway – that aside – I have become more of an experienced cook in the past few years. No, it doesn’t mean that I do everything right – or that I should publish my own cookbook or have my own cooking show 🙂 What I mean is – now I am more bold and less afraid to experiment and think outside of the box (or recipe book).
This recipe is great by itself – first of all – but I have altered it many times to my great satisfaction. So, first I shall give you the recipe:
Scottish Soda Bread
Yield: 1 medium round
1 1/4 cup unbleached white flour
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp soft butter
1 cup buttermilk
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Sprinkle flour on any round or square cake pan or pie plate and set aside.
2. Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and work it in with your fingertips until the mixture is crumbly and even in texture. Add the buttermilk and stir with a wooden spoon just long enough to moisten the dry ingredients.
3. Knead the mixture in the bowl for a minute. (The purpose of the kneading is not to develop gluten, as with yeast dough, but simply to mix the dough thoroughly – so don’t overdo it). If the dough is too sticky to handle, add a little more flour.
4. Shake the dough into a ball about 8 inches in diameter and place on a prepared pan. Dip a sharp knife in flour and use it to make two deep cuts into the loaf (almost- but not quite – to the bottom) in the shape of a plus sign. As the bread bakes, the cuts will spread apart.
5. Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and spread out like an open flower. Cool on a wire rack. To serve, pull the bread apart at the cut lines and tear off pieces.
So – that is the recipe – and it is great as it is. However, there are some things that I messed up when I first made the bread that made it even better for me – I don’t think I have actually made it exactly as stated even now. Somehow, though – I just don’t feel that guilty.
First thing is – if you don’t have buttermilk – you can easily substitute plain yogurt. Since we always have plain yogurt in the house – this was the easiest option for me. Also, one day while making the bread – I didn’t have any butter in the house. Instead – I used olive oil and the recipe still tasted great. So, if you ever need to substitute for the butter – olive oil works great!
One main thing that I “messed up” the first time I made this bread is that I did not cut it and I did not shape it into a round. Instead – I wet my hands and after placing the bread on a greased cooking sheet – I flattened the bread out kind of like pizza dough. I think I made the dough approximately 1 inch thick all around. In Yemen, they have something called Kak – and I love it – but it is so extremely unhealthy (don’t even as how much clarified butter they use – subhan’Allah). The way the bread turned out kind of reminded me of Yemeni Kak – except in a large piece of bread. The thinner you make the bread, the crispier it is too. My kids just love this bread and especially love to eat it with my homemade lentil soups. They just pull of a piece and dunk it in their soup and enjoy.
With a Twist – Making Pizza Bread from this recipe:
One day I wanted to make homemade pizza, but just couldn’t find a healthy recipe. Then I remembered this recipe and decided to give it a try. My first attempt I made the bread exactly as above – except I added a few pinches of oregano and basil and about 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese. Then I thinly sliced some tomatoes and placed them on the bread. Then I sprinkled some shredded mozzarella cheese. I am a cheese lover – however – in the interest of being healthy – I only sprinkle the cheese lightly over the bread. It adds enough flavor but doesn’t overdo it either. My kids fell absolutely in love with this recipe – and my husband as well (who hates pizza because it is usually made so unhealthy). Sometimes when I make soup I make this recipe along with the soup and the kids enjoy it. I have also made the bread this way with one exception – I have added spinach to the bread dough – mixed it thoroughly and then placed the tomatoes and cheese on the top. My kids really love it – but they love spinach anyway.
So, today I decided to be creative and treat myself (my kids hate mushrooms). So, I cut up a medium size onion and cooked them in olive oil with some mushrooms. I made the bread exactly as above (without any cheese or spices added to the bread) and then sprinkled the mushrooms and onions over the bread. I then sprinkled some feta cheese on the bread and baked. I am eating this version right now and all I can say is – it is absolutely delicious, masha’Allah.
Now, I have also made this bread another way – last week. We made the bread as above but added 1 tablespoon of black seed (nigella). Then, after it was cooked we took our bread pieces and poured some warm honey over them. The kids absolutely loved this one. If you wanted, you actually can spread some honey around over the bread before baking and then bake it. I’ve done this with another similar bread and it worked wonderfully, alhumdulilah (insha’Allah – I will share the recipe later).
So, if you try any of these recipes – please let me know. I’d love to hear if you have experimented with the recipe and how it turned out. Do you like it? And – do you have any healthy recipes to share???
Sumayyah Umm SAA