The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Irish Soda Bread-yellow color, not nice smell or taste.

Dean_01's picture
Dean_01

Irish Soda Bread-yellow color, not nice smell or taste.

Hi there,

 

I have been baking with a dutch oven type pan (cast iron, good sized casserole dish with lid),  i have been making Irish soda bread traditional.

My first attempt was decent  (using buttermilk, white plain flower,salt, bicarb. soda) just could of done with a little longer in the oven for a better crust.  My second attempt was where the problem occurred.  I used a substitute buttermilk, it was  the milk and juice of lemon 2 table spoons to 500ml of milk.  This time i made sure it was cooked for long enough, 30 minutes with lid on and around 15 minutes with lid off this produced what i think a lovely looking loaf with a nice crust to it.   I was so looking forward to trying it.

 

So when i got up this morning, coffee on the go i broke a chunk off...low and behold the bread looked a strange color....it had a yellow tinge to it.  i smelled it and it just didn't seem quite nice.  i had a little taste and it didn't taste quite right either so i binned it unhappily... any suggestions would be greatly appreciated thank you.

 

(p.s just as i write this i have done another soda bread, this time i used sour cream as a substitute with a little milk added as it was too thick.  Again bread looks great, had it in even longer this time proper good crust, i will wait till it cools down properly before i look inside it).

Update, again bread came out of the cast iron pot looking lovely, nice thick crust on it.  Unfortunately that yellow tinge was there again and it didn't taste right, not as bad as the other one but it is still there...Only thing i can deduce from these 2 failed attempts is that it is the lack of buttermilk that is the problem? rather than using alternatives.

 

Dean.

 

 

Sean McFarlane's picture
Sean McFarlane

Any particular reason you want to replace the buttermilk?

Buttermilk is what makes Irish soda bread what it is...the fresher the better.

 

Dean_01's picture
Dean_01

I totaly agree, unfortunately its hard to get hold of where i am.  Only reason i was trying to find a substitute :)

big supermarkets stock it but there a good few miles off, local markets don't stock it.

 

 

Thanks for reply.

 

Dean

 

 

 

Ford's picture
Ford

I make my own buttermilk. I buy cultured buttermilk use about half, then take fresh milk (whole, 2% bf, 1% bf, or skim) adding about 1/2 tspn unflavored gelatin for each cup and scald it (190°F+. 88°C+). Cool the milk to about 80°F (27°C) and add it to the remaining buttermilk. Allow the culture to ferment at room temperature and refrigerate when finished.

Repeat as many times as you wish. You will always have buttermilk at home. The gelatin is just to keep the milk solids from coagulating and separating from the whey.

Ford

Dean_01's picture
Dean_01

That would solve the problem for sure, atleast the shortage of buttermilk anyway :).   How long would i leave it for to ferment?

 

Thank you for that.

 

Dean

 

 

Ford's picture
Ford

I leave mine at room temperature, 65-72°F, overnight, about 10 hours.

Ford

Dean_01's picture
Dean_01

Thats great thanks i will do that once i get some more buttermilk :)

iGav's picture
iGav

I make soda breadfairly regularly and have always found natural yoghurt to be a perfect substitute. 

 

Alternatively, I have heard about mixing milk with cream of tartar but I can't attest to how successful it might be

Dean_01's picture
Dean_01

thanks for that, i am going to try a bit of a mix.  Home made buttermilk from a batch of butter i made for the first time :), also some natural yogurt.

 

its a 50/50 mix. i have done.....ok also a little milk as i had mis calculated how much liquid would be needed ;p.

 

Dean_01's picture
Dean_01

Ok, little update.

 

I again tried to make the soda bread, this time was a mix of home made butter milk, yogurt (50/50). and a dash of milk.

It turned out like the others just not as bad.  Crust was perfect, inside was not.

 

i can only asume that either the milk spoiled it or its just that i need to buy the butter milk and replenish it as was stated on another post....

 

ah well :)

 

Dean.

 

 

Caite's picture
Caite

Sadly, our buttermilk is nothing like Irish buttermilk. So, I came up with a recipe using some buttermilk and plain yogurt as well. Both baking soda and baking powder, bit of salt...bit of sugar.

Dean_01's picture
Dean_01

interesting mix :), i am trying allsorts today hehe. couple of failed atempts i am hoping this next mixer of yogurt and home made buttermilk might do the trick.

 

Dean.

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

fail at making soda bread it is a family catastrophe not soon forgotten.  They usually substitute about 3 cups of Jameson's, possibly more,  right away and call it a day - and I would know a little something about that :-)

Dean_01's picture
Dean_01

Ha the three cups of Jameson's sounds good :~)

 

Dean_01's picture
Dean_01

Thanks for the replies i will try the yogurt one :).  I made some butter earlier and i got some buttermilk from it.  only got around half a pint like. how about a fresh buttermilk and a little yogurt?. as i don't think i will have enough of the buttermilk for correct consistency :)

Ford's picture
Ford

Here are two recipes that I like.

Soda Bread, Irish


2 Tbs. butter

2 cups (8.5 oz.) unbleached flour

1 tspn. salt

1 tspn. baking soda

1/3 cup (2.7 oz.) buttermilk

 

Preheat the oven to 425°F.  Blend flour, salt, and soda; then cut in the butter.  Add sufficient buttermilk to make a stiff dough, mixing with a spoon.  Turn on to a floured board and knead lightly.  Form into a ball and turn on to a lightly floured baking sheet.  Flatten the dough into a circle 1 1/2 inch thick with the palm of the hand.  Make a cross in the center with a floured knife.  Bake at 425°F for 30 to 35 minutes.  To soften the crust, wrap in damp cloth and stand on end until cool.

 

Soda Bread, Irish Brown

Same as for Irish Soda Bread, except, instead of 2 cups of unbleached flour, use 1 1/3 cups of whole-wheat flour and 2/3 cups of unbleached flour.  Ideally, the bread should stand for about 6 hours before cutting, but good eaten warm from the oven.

 Ford

Dean_01's picture
Dean_01

Hi,

I will try that recipe, i will let you know how it turns out.

Thanks

 

Dean

 

 

Dean_01's picture
Dean_01

After all the various different combinations or alternatives i have made....you can not beat it.  When i used buttermilk they turned out great every time. :)

 

I am going to try to follow what ford mentioned to keep a stock of buttermil.

Dean

 

run4bread's picture
run4bread

Bob's Red Mill makes a powdered buttermilk and I've seen another brand too. I used to use a local brand, Darigold, powdered buttermild in recipes when I did not have fresh buttermilk. Has anyone tried using powdered buttermilk in Irish Soda Bread? It keeps well, so would be a great alternative if it works.

Also, I now do 50% whole wheat 50% AP flour in Irish soda bread and a wee extra buttermilk in case the WW is thirsty. Tastes great still, and not dense.

Why do some recipes add baking powder or cream of tartar? I suppose I could look up what they do chemically, but I am also curious about this change historically.

Breadandwine's picture
Breadandwine

Hi run4bread

Irish soda bread contains buttermilk – which is acidic – and bicarb of soda – which is an alkali. The two together, when water is added and heat applied, produce CO2, which raises the bread. Baking powder contains both acid and alkali. 

Cream of tartar, another alkali, is often used with bicarb of soda (at the proportion of 2:1 ) so it is a reasonable substitute for buttermilk. When making a fruit soda bread I've often soaked the dried fruit for a few hours and used the soaking liquid to provide the acid.

It’s perfectly possible to make soda bread (not Irish soda bread, which should contain buttermilk) just using self-raising flour and water, which contains both chemicals in the correct proportions.

I make this frequently, using a variety of ingredients – my latest favourite is an Italian soda bread with a goodly proportion of EVOO! And I’ve made a soda bread version of focaccia with rosemary.

http://nobreadisanisland.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/soda-bread-also-fruit-soda-bread-and.html

Cheers, Paul

Ford's picture
Ford

"Cream of tartar, another alkali, is often used with bicarb of soda (at the proportion of 2:1 ) so it is a reasonable substitute for buttermilk."

Cream of tartar is potassium acid tartrate.  It is the acid component in tartrate baking powder that reacts with the baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) to produce, in the presence of water and heat, the carbon dioxide that raises the dough.

Ford

Breadandwine's picture
Breadandwine

D*mn! Smacks forehead!

You're quite right, Ford! I meant to say:

"Cream of tartar, another acid, is often used with bicarb of soda...":

Thanks for the correction!

(Pity I can't get in there and edit the post! :( )

Cheers, Paul

 

Ford's picture
Ford

It happens to all of us.  Sorry, but the chemist in me could not let that one go by.  Sooner or later you will catch me in a slip.

Ford

 

run4bread's picture
run4bread

Thank you both. I often find two heads better than one. One reason why I enjoy TFL!

Ford's picture
Ford

It happens to all of us.  Sorry, but the chemist in me could not let that one go by.  Sooner or later you will catch me in a slip.

Ford

 

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

was the reason of all the yellowish crumbs (and soapy taste) I had. Try with less.

Dean_01's picture
Dean_01

Ah good to know i shall make sure i don't put too much in :)

have not had a problem with my last few, so maybe i did put too much in this one.

 

Dean

 

 

hanseata's picture
hanseata

I'm baking classic Irish soda bread and brown Irish soda bread every year for sale, around St. Patrick's Day, using "Cook's Illustrated" recipes. You question made me look up their test section for the recipe again. Here some information that might be helpful.

As iGav already mentioned, "Cook's Illustrated" confirms that yogurt can be used as substitute for buttermilk for an "equally delicious bread with a slightly rougher crust and lighter texture".

Like Nicodvb, they also say that "if there is too much soda, some remains intact in the bread, giving it a slightly metallic taste".

I'm very happy with their Irish soda bread recipes, though after St. Patrick's Day I'm all "soda-breaded-out", making several batches by hand.

Karin