Archive | September, 2011

“I-Can’t-Believe-It’s-Low-Fat” Cheesecake

26 Sep

HAPPY BIRTHDAY E!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

E’s birthday cake request again this year (after being forced to decide) was blueberry cheesecake.  Last year I was ambitious and followed a recipe from The Best Light Recipe Cookbook.  It tasted just like traditional New York Cheesecake but at a fraction of the calories and fat.  The cheesecake was out-of-this-world delicious (considering it was a pseudo-light recipe!) but took an entire day to make.  I didn’t have time for such things this year so a quick and easy recipe was necessary.

The Birthday Boy + Birthday Cheesecake

Coincidentally, I received an new (but old) cookbook in the mail this week.  It once belonged to my friend L who no longer cooks for herself.  L’s sister R saw me eying this cookbook (it’s no longer in print) and graciously mailed me L’s copy.  I poured over it the day it arrived in the mail and a recipe for a ridiculously light cheesecake caught my eye (along with an “Excellent” written at the top of the page by R).

The ingredient list alone sparked my curiosity.  The crust was simply crushed graham crackers, a touch of sugar, and one egg white.  No butter!  The filling called for low-fat cottage cheese, low-fat sour cream, 2 egg whites and 1 egg, a mere half cup of sugar (compared to one and a half cups in traditional cheesecake), vanilla, and 2 tablespoons of flour.  Really?  That was it?  This recipe sounded too good to be true.

This cheesecake certainly tasted lighter and less cheesy than your standard cheesecake but it was still very good.  It was just perfect for E’s family as they don’t have very big sweet teeth (?), unlike yours truly.  In addition to being low-fat (4 g per serving), it’s high in protein, relatively low in calories, and very easy to make.

The cheesecake was a hit (even the dog thought so!) and I’ll definitely be making it again.  Happy Birthday E!

Blueberry Birthday Cheesecake

 

Say “Cheesecake” (from Looneyspoons)

1-1/2 cups crushed graham wafers
1 tbsp sugar
1 egg white
1 cup low-fat (1%) cottage cheese
2 cups low-fat (5%) sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 egg
2 egg whites
2 tsp vanilla extract
Blueberry (or cherry) sauce or pie filling (see below)

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Spray an 8-inch springform pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together graham crumbs and sugar.  Add 1 egg white and stir until well-blended, using your fingers if needed.  Press crumb mixture firmly over the bottom and part way up sides (about 1 cm high) of springform pan.  Bake until edges feel firm and dry, about 8 minutes.  Do not overbake.  Set aside to cool.  Reduce oven to 300 degrees Fahreinheit.
  3. In a blender or food processor, process cottage cheese until smooth (about 1 minute).  Add sour cream and continue to blend, ensuring no lumps remain.  Add sugar, flour, egg, egg whites, and vanilla and process again until well blended.
  4. Pour filling into pie crust and bake about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until edges are dry to the touch and centre jiggles only slightly when pan is shaken.  Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 5 hours before serving.  Run a knife along the inside edge of the pan and remove sides.  Serve with sauce or pie filling on top.

Makes 8 large slices.  Per slice (cake only): 245 kcal, 3.6 g fat, 234 mg sodium, 11 g protein

For a quick and easy blueberry sauce, in a medium pot combine approximately 2 cups of fresh of frozen blueberries, 1 to 2 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp lime or lemon juice, and roughly 1/2 tbsp corn starch dissolved in 1/4 cup cold water.  Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes or until sauce thickens slightly.  Let cool and refrigerate until ready to serve (sauce will thicken as it cools).  Spoon over cheesecake just before serving.

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Saturday Morning Special: 100% Whole Wheat Pancakes

24 Sep

Saturday mornings.  Full of hope and ambition, an entire weekend ahead for errands/laundry/chores/work, etc.  Totally different from Sunday mornings.  If you’re anything like me, on Sunday you find yourself wondering “where did my weekend go?”   And then you proceed to sulk around miserably for the rest of the day, in denial that the weekend has come and gone in the blink of an eye.

I love to make pancakes when I’m feeling particularly ambitious on a Saturday morning.  I came across this recipe for whole wheat pancakes a couple of years ago and it has been my go-to recipe since.  Fluffy and light, you would never guess that they are healthy and 100% whole wheat.  If you’re hesitant to make a batch of pancakes for one or two people, fret not:  these pancakes freeze wonderfully.  Stack the pancakes between squares of wax paper and freeze in a ziplock bag or airtight container.  Next time you’re looking for a snack (or a quick breakfast), pop a pancake or two in the toaster, top with your favourite spread, and voila!  Trust me, peanut butter is waaaaay better on a pancake than on toast.

Pile O' Pancakes... waiting to be eaten!

I decided to make pancakes a couple of weekends ago but quickly realized that I didn’t have any maple syrup kicking around.  Instead, I had a lovely container of strawberries sitting in the fridge… so I decided to whip up a super simple strawberry sauce (how’s that for alliteration?).  I loosely followed a recipe but made a few modifications.  I wanted to use less sugar so I reduced the amount called for by half.  And I didn’t have any orange juice on hand so I just used water.

The resulting strawberry sauce was sweet enough for me but E needed to add a drizzle of honey on top.  Even still, much healthier than Aunt Jemima (although I’ll admit that I do love Aunt Jemima, high fructose corn syrup and all… just don’t tell anyone).

Wholesome Pancake with Super Simple Strawberry Sauce

 

100% Whole Wheat Pancakes (adapted from CanadianLiving.com)

1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1-1/2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1-1/2 cup milk
(I usually add a little more before I pour the batter as I find it a bit too thick)
1-1/2 tbsp canola oil
3/4 tsp vanilla extract

  1. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  In a medium bowl, whisk together egg, milk, oil, and vanilla.  Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and stir just until moistened.  Do not overmix! Optional: add extra milk to reach desired consistency (I like my pancake batter a bit more runny).
  2. Heat large non-stick skillet or griddle over medium-high heat.  Pour 1/4 cup batter for each pancake; cook until bubbles break on top but do not fill in and bottoms are golden, 1.5 to 2 minutes.  Flip and cook for another minute or so, until golden on bottom.  Transfer to a baking sheet and keep warm in a 200 degree Fahrenheit oven until ready to serve.  Pancakes can be layered between waxed paper and frozen in a Ziplock bag or airtight container.

Makes 12 pancakes.  Per pancake: 98 kcal, 3 g fat, 1.4 g fibre, 180 mg sodium

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Strawberry Sauce (from Crazy Plates)

2 cups diced strawberries
1/3 cup orange juice (or water) mixed with 1 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup sugar (I used 2 tbsp)

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan.  Cook and stir over medium heat until liquid has thickened and strawberries have softened, about 6 to 7 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool slightly before serving.  May be refrigerated for up to one week.

Autumn Root Vegetable Mash

19 Sep

Autumn is in the air.  Although it’s still officially summer, the days are getting cooler and I no longer live a life of leisure (tear!).  While I’m sad to part with the joys of summer, there’s a certain je ne sais quoi about Autumn that I love.  New beginnings, leaves changing colours, warm vests, Thanksgiving.  And the food!  Pumpkin, squash, apples, root vegetables…  the list goes on.

To pay homage to the beginnings of autumn, I thought I would stray from my typical dinnertime starches (rice, quinoa, pasta) and make a root vegetable mash.  The trio of potatoes, sweet potatoes, and parsnips alone would have been tasty but the recipe called for the addition of roasted garlic cloves and caramelized onions.  You can never go wrong with a combination like that.

Root Vegetables: Sweet Potato, Parsnip, Potato

Preparing this dish required a bit more effort than ordinary mashed potatoes but it helped dress up an otherwise simple meal of steamed broccoli and Cajun salmon (more on that another day).  As a bonus, the dish can be made in advance and re-heated gently on the stovetop just before serving.  I’d say the results were well worth the effort!

Mashed Root Vegetables with Roasted Garlic

 

Mashed Root Vegetables with Roasted Garlic  (adapted from Rose Reisman’s Family Favorites)

8 cloves garlic, unpeeled
3 cups peeled and cubed potatoes
1-1/2 cups peeled and cubed sweet potatoes
1-1/2 cups peeled and cubed parsnips
2 tsp vegetable oil
2 cups finely chopped Vidalia onion (about half of a large onion)
1-1/2 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp finely chopped garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
freshly chopped parsley (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Individually wrap the garlic cloves in foil, place on a baking sheet, and bake for about 15 minutes or until tender.  Allow to cool, remove the skin and set aside.
  2. Place the potatoes, sweet potatoes, and parsnips in 3 separate large pots with enough cold water to cover them.  Bring the water to a boil over high heat and boil the potatoes for 10 to 15 minutes or until tender, the sweet potatoes for 10 minutes or until tender, and the parsnips for 20 minutes or until tender.  Drain and place in 1 large pot, cover and set aside.  Alternatively, if you have time you can cook in batches using one pot, e.g. first cook potatoes then drain and set aside, next cook sweet potatoes, etc.  This saves on dishwashing!
  3. Meanwhile, lightly coat a large skillet with cooking spray, add the oil, and set over medium-low heat.  Add the onion and saute for 10 minutes or until softened and browned.  Reduce the heat to low, add the brown sugar and garlic, and continue cooking for 5 minutes.
  4. Partially mash the potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, and roasted garlic using a potato masher.  Add the sauteed onion, olive oil, and salt and pepper.  Garnish with parsley (optional) and serve immediately.  Can be prepared up to one day in advance.  Reheat gently on the stove until warm.

Makes 4 generous servings.  Per serving: 240 kcal, 6.5 g fat, 5.1 g fibre, 100 mg sodium

Revelations in the Kitchen: Pita Chips and Crostini

17 Sep

I’ve been doing a fair bit of entertaining in the past couple of weeks and I’ve made some interesting– maybe even life-altering?– revelations in the kitchen.  Let me share…

Roaming the aisles of the grocery store last week, I found myself appalled by the price of crackers.   A box of crunchy baguette-style crackers was priced close to $5. Five dollars!!! What a rip off.  I continued to roam and stumbled across a freshly baked baguette.  Hmmm… could I really make my own crackers?  I was about to find out.

My “Best Light Recipe” Cookbook has become a trusty advisor in the kitchen.  It contains detailed recipes for even the most basic things.  I was in luck: they had directions for homemade crostini (baguette-style crackers) and homemade pita chips to serve alongside the-best-hummus-ever.  Both were so easy to make, I’m almost embarrassed I hadn’t discovered them sooner.

Crispy Pita Chips (with what little remains of the hummus!)

For the Homemade Pita Chips

4 whole wheat pita breads
Cooking spray (preferably olive oil spray or butter flavoured spray, but ordinary canola oil spray should work just fine)
1/4 tsp salt

Adjust your oven racks to the upper-middle and lower-middle positions and preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Split 4 whole wheat pita breads into 8 thin rounds.  This can most easily be done using kitchen scissors to cut around the perimeter, but you can also tear with your hands, just be gentle!  Cut each round into 6 wedges.  Arrange wedges, smooth-side down, over 2 rimmed baking sheets.  They will be crowded but don’t worry!  Spritz the top of each wedge with cooking spray , then sprinkle with salt.  Bake the wedges for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they begin to brown.  Flip the wedges and reverse the positions of the baking sheets (the one on the top rack will now go on the bottom rack and vice-versa).  Bake for another 8 to 10 minutes or until chips are fully toasted.  Enjoy!  (Chips can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days)

For the Homemade Crostini

1 baguette, preferably whole wheat
Cooking spray (preferably olive oil spray or butter flavoured spray, but ordinary canola oil spray should work just fine)
1 clove garlic, peeled

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Diagonally slice baguette into thin slices.  Spread the slices out onto a baking sheet and spray the tops with a spritz of cooking spray.  Bake for 4 to 5 minutes, then flip toasts and bake for another 4 to 5 minutes or until bread is dry and crisp.  While still hot, rub one side of each toast with the raw garlic clove.  Enjoy!

“Butter” Chickpea Curry (in a Hurry)

13 Sep

Do you love Indian food? Are you too intimidated to cook it at home?  If you answered yes to either of these questions, I have just the dish for you.

I first stumbled across this recipe a few years ago.  It was a Friday afternoon and I had no idea what to make for dinner. I was convinced there was no food in the house.  My search terms included chickpeas and potatoes, an unlikely combination I thought.  Little did I know that the recipe I would stumble across would soon become a favourite.  Onion and garlic?  Check.   Can of tomato soup? Check.  Indian spices? Check.  I had found a recipe that was healthy, looked tasty, and didn’t require me to go to the grocery store.  Success!

This curry is just like your classic butter chicken dish, minus the butter and with chickpeas instead of chicken.  It’s so simple (and tasty!) that a couple of my “no-fuss” friends have asked for the recipe.  To give you an idea of what I mean by no-fuss, one of my friends refuses to cook with onions because they make her cry.  I bought her a pair of onion goggles for her birthday to remedy this problem.  Yes, these things actually exist!

An "artsy" (and blurry) Butter Chickpea Curry shot. Artistic director and photographer: LS; Hand model: JC

One such no-fuss kind of gal is my good friend Erin who decided to make this dish for our potluck on Saturday evening.  It was her first attempt at making curry and it was a roaring success.

I love love LOVE potlucks! (and great friends, and good wine)

The sweetness from the condensed tomato soup and sweet potatoes contrasts so nicely with the mild spice from the curry powder in this hearty dish.  The cauliflower, while not in the original recipe, adds great texture and soaks up the curry sauce beautifully.  Good luck keeping leftovers around for long: I’ve been known to sneak a “bite” from the fridge and usually end up polishing off whatever is left…  in one sitting (er, standing).

Butter Chickpea Curry


Butter Chickpea Curry  (adapted from Allrecipes.com)

This is a very mild curry, perfect for those who can’t handle a lot of spice.  Add chili flakes or cayenne pepper to up the heat to your liking.

2 medium sweet potatoes (or regular potatoes), cubed
2 cups cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
1/2 tbsp canola oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cumin
1 can (10.75 oz) condensed tomato soup
1/2 cup milk
1 can (19 oz) chickpeas, rinsed and drained (preferably no salt added)
salt, to taste

  1. Place sweet potatoes in a medium saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender.  Add cauliflower at the last minute and cook until tender-crisp, about 1 minute.  Drain, and set aside.
  2. Warm oil over medium heat in a large non-stick skillet sprayed with cooking spray.  Stir in onion and cook until soft and translucent.  Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Stir in curry powder, garam masala, ground ginger, cumin, and salt.  Cook for 1 or 2 minutes, stirring continuously.
  4. Add soup, milk, and chickpeas.  Stir in sweet potatoes and cauliflower.  Simmer 5 minutes.  Serve alone, over rice, or with toasted naan.

Makes 4 servings.  Per serving: 300 kcal, 4.7 g fat, 8.8 g fibre, 495 mg sodium

Feel Good Pizza Dough

11 Sep

My friend N (aka pizza-lover-extraordinaire) was a lovely house guest this past week, here from BC while completing a pediatrics elective at Sick Kids Hospital.  It was nice to have a friend around to help me transition from cohabitation to living on my own.  When I first learned of her visit, I promised N a homemade whole wheat pizza.  A veggie-loaded, light-on-the-cheese, 100% whole wheat crust pizza is the perfect way to enjoy one of my favourite foods sans guilt.

Feel Good Pizza... Nom nom nom

I’ve modified the timing of this recipe each time I’ve made it based on whatever else I have going on that day.  Pizza dough is nice that way… it’s not as finicky as a loaf of bread but you still get that yeasty, doughy goodness (and at a fraction of the time!).  Allow about an hour to prepare the dough and another 20 minutes or so for baking.  Top with tomato paste, tomato sauce, or easy pizza sauce (recipe below), lots of veggies, lean protein such as cooked chicken or deli ham if desired, and a sprinkling of cheese.  Voila!  Homemade pizza that you can feel good about eating.

Wheaty Goodness

 
 100% Whole Wheat Pizza Dough (adapted from Allrecipes.com)

1 package (7 g) active dry yeast
1 cup warm (approximately 100 degrees Fahrenheit) water
1 tablespoon honey
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 teaspoon salt

  1. In a small bowl, dissolve honey in warm water.  Add yeast and stir until dissolved.  Let stand about 10 minutes, until creamy and foamy.
  2. In a large bowl combine flour, wheat germ, and salt.  Make a well in the middle and add yeast mixture.  Stir well to combine, then knead with your hands for a few minutes until the dough comes together and feels somewhat smooth.  Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise for a minimum of 20 minutes. The original recipe says to let the dough sit for a few minutes.  If you’re pressed for time, a few minutes might be fine but I always prefer to leave the dough for longer.  Tip: heat a cup of water in the microwave for a minute or two, then use the microwave as a warm place to let the dough sit.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place a large baking sheet upside-down on the middle rack.
  4. Prepare your work surface.  You can use a counter top sprinkled with a bit of flour or, for easier clean-up, a large piece of waxed paper sprinkled with flour.  Punch dough and with floured hands, turn out onto work surface.  Lightly sprinkle flour over the dough.  Split the dough in half and roll to desired thinness, ideally yielding two 12-inch rounds.  Transfer to baking sheets sprayed with non-stick spray and poke holes in the dough with a fork.  Alternatively, you can make one large rectangular pizza as big as your baking sheet and one small pizza with the remaining dough.
  5. Optional step: Let dough sit on baking sheet for an additional 10 minutes to rise.
  6. Place baking sheet with dough on top of the hot upside-down baking sheet and prebake crust for 10 minutes.  Spread with pizza sauce, add toppings and cheese, and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes depending on how crispy you like your crust.  I usually bake my pizzas in two separate batches due to limited baking sheets and oven space.  Supposedly using an upside-down preheated baking sheet helps make a crispy pizza crust.  Feel free to experiment with different baking methods, or use a pizza stone if you have one.
  7. Cut into slices and enjoy!

Makes approximately 12 slices.  Per slice (dough only): 82 kcal, 0.6 g fat, 2.8 g fibre, 190 mg sodium

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Easy Pizza Sauce (adapted from Allrecipes.com)

1 cup tomato sauce (a plain canned variety works well)
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tbsp dried oregano
1/4 to 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika
chili flakes (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Leftovers can be refrigerated and used for pita or english muffin pizzas.

Tis the Season… for Tomatoes!

9 Sep

If you’re a tomato-eater, you can appreciate the difference between in-season tomatoes (plump, juicy, and sweet) and middle-of-winter tomatoes (mealy, watery, and flavourless).  We’re in the middle of tomato season in Ontario– a reality that officially registered with me this past weekend.  I was at a rest stop in upstate New York, en route to Connecticut for a weekend visit with my parents.  The food options were limited: Tim Hortons (we were still fairly close to the Canadian border at this point) or a burger-and-fries joint known as Checkers.  I grabbed an uninspired salad from the latter– iceberg lettuce, a slice or two of cucumber, and a dash of grated cheese with a microwaved chicken breast on top.  Yum.  But hiding beneath the chicken were two bright red tomato wedges.  Not the greenish-orangey tomatoes that I’ve come to expect from fast food joints.  They were juicy and ruby red throughout… and they actually tasted like tomato!

Wanting to take advantage of the abundance (and affordability!) of great tasting tomatoes available in grocery stores at this time of year, I sifted through my cookbooks and came across a recipe for a tomato salad.  It called for 3 different kinds of tomatoes (plum, field, and grape), a handful of olives, a small amount of bocconcini cheese, all topped with caramelized onions, fresh basil, and a creamy yet light balsamic dressing.

Grape tomatoes grown in Ontario... what a treat!

I had a couple of girlfriends over for dinner (who asked to be referred to as N, S, and M) and they were all in love with this salad.  The sweet tomatoes and caramelized onions paired wonderfully with the salty olives, creamy bocconcini, and the tangy balsamic dressing.  The fresh basil was the cherry on top– the salad still probably would have been wonderful without but it added another dimension of flavour (and colour).

Tomato Salad (it tastes better than it looks... I promise!)


 
Tomato Salad with Caramelized Onions, Bocconcini Cheese & Olives
(adapted from Rose Reisman’s Family Favorites)

The recipe said to arrange the tomatoes, cheese, olives, and onions on a serving platter, then toss with the dressing.  I couldn’t figure out the logistics of tossing on a serving platter so I placed all of the ingredients into a bowl instead.  The presentation wasn’t very pretty so next time I might use a platter and simply drizzle the dressing over top.

Also, if you’ve never caramelized onions before, don’t be intimidated.  This was a first for me and it was incredibly easy!  A good non-stick pan is important, and make sure you stir the onions at regular intervals.

SALAD:
2 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 large sweet white onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp brown sugar
2 large field tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch slices
4 plum tomatoes, each cut into 6 wedges
1-1/2 cups grape tomatoes, cut in half
60 grams (2 oz) bocconcini cheese, thinly sliced (about 2 mini balls, or 1 large ball)
1/4 cup kalamata olives, halved

DRESSING:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp low-fat sour cream or plain yogurt
1 tbsp light mayonnaise
1-1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp honey
1/2 tsp finely chopped garlic

GARNISH:
3 tbsp chopped fresh basil

  1. Over medium heat, lightly coat a non-stick skillet with cooking spray and add the oil.  Saute the onion slices for 10 minutes, or until tender and lightly browned.  Add the sugar and saute for another 5 minutes.  Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  2. Arrange the tomatoes, bocconcini cheese, and olives on a serving platter.  Place the caramelized onions on top.
  3. Prepare the dressing by whisking together the oil, sour cream or yogurt, mayonnaise, balsamic vinegar, honey and garlic until well blended.  Pour the dressing evenly over the salad and toss (see tip above).  Garnish with basil and serve.

Salad can be prepared earlier in the day and refrigerated until ready to serve.  Dress at the last minute.

Makes 4 large servings.  Per serving: 247 kcal, 15 g fat, 3 g fibre, 320 mg sodium

The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread

2 Sep

I had never heard of soda bread until we made it in my food science lab a couple of years ago.  Up until that day, I was only familiar with your classic sandwich breads (made with yeast) and the dense, sweet breads that my mom used to bake (banana bread with chocolate chips was my favourite!).  Little did I know that you could loosely combine these two types of breads and produce a sandwich-worthy loaf with little to no effort.

Soda bread is similar to many sweet breads (banana bread, loaves, muffins) in that the primary leavening agent used is baking soda.  There is no yeast involved, so you don’t have to put in the extra work of kneading and you don’t need to allow any extra time for rising.  In fact, the baking soda becomes active the minute it is in contact with something wet (in this case, buttermilk), so minimal handling is ideal as you want to get the loaf into the oven ASAP.

Before

After

 

Call me a nerd, but the joy of seeing a nondescript blob of dough transformed into a beautifully risen loaf of bread is what I consider to be one of life’s many greatest pleasures.  Yeast breads are a bit more rewarding given how much work goes into them, but this one gives you that same sense of accomplishment with very little effort.  The final product is more dense than your typical yeast bread but it still works well if you’re using it for sandwiches.  I like to eat soda bread as a side– it is the perfect accompaniment to a hearty soup or stew.

 

Freshly Baked Whole Grain Irish Soda Bread

 

Whole Grain Irish Soda Bread
(from the Foods and Nutrition 2232 Recipe Manual)

I’ve been tweaking this recipe to lower the amount of all-purpose flour used.  Most recently, I used only 1 cup of all-purpose flour and increased the whole wheat flour to 2 and 2/3 cups.  The bread tasted identical to the original recipe, the only change was that I needed to add a touch more buttermilk so that the dough was moist enough to work with.  Feel free to play with the recipe as you go– it’s virtually fool-proof!

1-2/3 cup all-purpose flour (I used 1 cup)
1 tablespoon sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cups whole wheat flour (I used 2-2/3 cup)
2/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup wheat bran
2 cups buttermilk

Topping:
1 tablespoon buttermilk
1 tablespoon old-fashioned rolled oats

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together all-purpose flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt; stir in whole wheat flour, 2/3 cup of oats, and bran.  Make a well in the centre; add buttermilk, stir until a soft dough forms.
  3. Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface (or onto a large square or wax paper).  Knead 5 or 6 times until smooth.  Shape dough into a ball; bat into a 8″ (20 cm) round.  Place on prepared baking sheet.  With a sharp knife dipped in flour (a serrated knife works best), cut a large 1/2″ (1 cm) deep cross on top of the loaf.
  4. Brush loaf with remaining 1 tbsp buttermilk; sprinkle with 1 tbsp oats.  Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until well risen and golden.  Loaf will sound hollow when tapped on base.  Immediately wrap in a clean, dry tea towel.  Set aside to cool (this prevents the crust from becoming too hard).

The only downside to this bread is that it does not last very long on the counter and tastes best if eaten within a day or two.  After a few days, it becomes crumbly and dry.  Since this makes a large loaf (~28 small slices or 14 large slices), I like to slice the loaf and freeze it the day of or the day after I make it.  To serve, microwave each slice for 10 to 20 seconds in the microwave and top with a dab of butter or margarine.

Makes 14 large slices.  Per slice: 145 kcal, 1 g fat, 3.7 g fibre, 255 mg sodium