Ladies and gentlemen, what am I bid for one used Misto? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you need to read today’s story about spring cleaning: Food staffers divested themselves of unwanted kitchen stuff that, in some cases, we couldn’t even identify though it had been in our cupboards for decades. (By the way, is that wooden disk a butter mold? Can someone please tell me?)
We have a treat in store for today’s Free Range chat: Food-editor-in-absentia Joe Yonan, author of the veggie burger story, will be joining us as a guest. He is taking the year off to work on a project but continues to write his Cooking for One column and, when he can, join a chat here and there.
Speaking of the chat, it’s at noon, right here. So be there! And bring any food-related question you have, so we can try to help you with it. Here’s a leftover from a previous chat:
Our family is mostly Irish, so when I was a kid, whenever we had those international food days at school my mother would dutifully make soda bread the night before for us to bring and share. It always tasted great right out of the oven but was SO dry and stale the next day. I want to make some, but there’s no way my husband and I can eat it all right away; any tips for storing/preserving?
This was an easy one! While the nature of soda bread does make it prone to getting stale faster, the good news is that it can be preserved in just the same, simple way you store lots of other foods: in the freezer. Double wrap this loaf, leave it wrapped up while defrosting, and the bread won’t taste like a mouthful of cotton. Now, your challenge is to remember this tip for nearly one year, when St. Patrick’s Day rolls around and you get a taste for Irish soda bread again.
Or you might get a taste for it right now, because here’s a very a propos recipe from cookbook author Elinor Klivans.
Dark Irish Soda Bread
This soda bread gets its appealing brown color from molasses and whole-wheat flour. The flour used here is the traditional whole-wheat flour that is made from red-wheat berries.
It’s best eaten on the same day it is made, but it tastes great toasted the next day. The bread can be wrapped well and frozen for up to 1 month. Defrost with the wrapping on so that any condensation will form on the foil and/or plastic, and not on the bread itself.
Makes one 8-inch oval loaf (12 servings)
2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter (plus softened butter for greasing the baking sheet)
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour, plus more for the baking sheet
3/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon dark or light brown sugar
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon molasses
1 cup low-fat or regular buttermilk
Position a rack in the middle of the oven; preheat to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a rimmed baking sheet with softened butter, then sprinkle lightly with whole-wheat flour; tap to discard any excess flour.
Combine both flours, brown sugar, caraway seeds, baking soda and salt in the large bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer. Mix to combine on low speed; add the melted butter.
Combine the molasses and the buttermilk, then add to the mixer bowl, on low speed; beat for a minute or two, until a soft dough forms. Gather the dough into a ball and roll it around in the palms of your hands to smooth it; the dough will not be perfectly smooth. Form into an 8-inch long oval and place on the prepared baking sheet. Use a smooth-edge knife to cut a slash about 5 inches long and about 1 inch deep along the length of the loaf.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the bread feels firm and crisp and you can see that the bottom has browned when you lift it carefully. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.