No-yeast, no-knead, no-fuss

Fresh-baked bread and biscuits in under an hour

With no yeast or kneading required, the recipes for Irish Soda Bread and Love Me Tender Buttermilk-Cream Cheese Biscuits make it possible to enjoy fresh-from-the oven breads and biscuits just about any time you desire. Containing buttermilk and baking soda, Irish Soda Bread gets its lift and rise from the reaction generated between the two, as bubbles of carbon dioxide expand via the heat of the oven. The finished soda bread will have a crisp crust and a hearty crumb. Also made with buttermilk and baking soda, soft and fluffy Love Me Tender Buttermilk-Cream Cheese Biscuits gains substantial height after just 18 minutes of bake time. To ensure success, be sure your baking soda isn’t past its prime. (If your supply has been sitting around for a while, say more than a year, test it by dropping a few of drops of vinegar onto a bit of baking soda. If it fizzles like mad, your soda is good.) In addition, the kind of flour used in a recipe is important, too. I like White Lily Self-Rising Flour for biscuits and for Irish Soda Bread, King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour has always been my flour of choice. King Arthur Flour also makes available many other items helpful to bread bakers, a few of which are highlighted here. With baking being part science, part skill and part art, having the right ingredients and tools also makes it fun.

 

Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at kitchenade@yahoo.com.

Irish Soda Bread

4 cups King Arthur All-Purpose Unbleached Flour, measured by dipping measuring cup into flour, then leveling off with the flat end of a knife (dip and sweep)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

2 cups buttermilk

 

Place oven rack in lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sift the dry ingredients into the mixing bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer. On low speed, with paddle attachment, add buttermilk to form a soft dough.

Do not over mix.

Remove dough from mixing bowl, and place on a rolling mat or lightly floured surface. With floured hands, pat dough into an 8-inch round. Place round in a lightly greased King Arthur Flour Bread Bowl, or 8-inch round cake pan. With a floured knife, cut a deep cross in the top of the loaf. Bake the loaf until it sounds hollow when tapped, about 40 to 45 minutes. (If top of bread gets too brown before it is fully baked, top with a piece of aluminum foil.) Makes one 8-inch round loaf.

Love Me Tender Buttermilk-Cream Cheese Biscuits

2/3 cup buttermilk

¼ teaspoon baking soda

2 cups White-Lily Self-Rising Flour, measured by dipping measuring cup into flour, then leveling off with the flat end of a knife (dip and sweep), plus more for dusting

Pinch salt

1/3 cup unsalted butter, chilled, cut into small bits

2 tablespoon melted unsalted butter

¼ cup cream cheese, chilled

 

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. In a small bowl, stir baking soda into buttermilk and set aside. Place flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Using your fingers, “cut” in the 1/3 cup butter and cream cheese until it has the texture of coarse meal with lumps the size of peas. Do not overwork. Make well in the center of mixture and pour in the buttermilk. With your hands, or a rubber spatula, mix lightly to blend to form a wet ball. Lightly sprinkle the top of the dough with flour, then flip dough once so that the bottom of the dough is now on top; sprinkle lightly again with flour. Turn dough out of bowl onto a lightly floured surface. With floured hands, pat dough into an oval and divide dough into 3 equal pieces. Pat each piece into a 3/4-inch thick round, big enough to make two cuts with a sharp edged 3-inch floured biscuit cutter. (Be sure to cut straight through dough, without twisting the biscuit cutter.)

 

Save scraps of dough, which you will use to make another biscuit. With sides touching one another, place biscuits into the bottom of an ungreased 8-inch cake pan. (Placing the biscuits close together in the pan will help the biscuits to rise and keep the sides soft, rather than crisp.) Brush tops with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter. Turn oven temperature down to 450 degrees and bake until biscuits have risen and are golden brown, about 18 minutes. Remove biscuits from oven and brush tops with the remaining melted butter. Serve immediately. Makes 7 large biscuits.

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