The proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow this week, was, in a moment of sheer desperation, opening the fridge and finding a bottle of buttermilk there, twinkling away, on the shelf.
It's been a harried week around here, with my friendly house-painter, Tim, in residence (it feels like) removing the wallpaper and painting the stair hallway right outside my study door. That means three stories of plaster dust and chaos, and the incredible cacophony of his blaring music which, I'm sure while very nice is, how shall I say, different from my music.
And if that isn't stressful enough, I decided to go through my library and part with many ancient volumes, spurred on by the library's drive-through book drive which happens tomorrow. Fair warning, strong backs will be necessary for my donation of ten hefty boxes on the Richmond Public Library's loading deck tomorrow.
But how is it-- that even with mayhem erupting, the phone ringing incessantly, Briggs having a feline nervous breakdown from the noise, trying to wend my way like some crazed hoarder through a biblio-maze of my own demented creation, Tim drinking the last cup of coffee to which I had so been looking forward--at the end of the day, Jeff is going to walk in the door having tangling with feisty politicians for the day, expecting that something resembling a relaxing and delicious dinner is going to appear in a timely fashion?
That's where I stop to give grateful thanks to my past-self who apparently reached into the dairy case last week and fished out a bottle of buttermilk (that wasn't even on the grocery list) and thought to herself, "Buttermilk, that's sure to be useful somehow."
With an hour to go, I whipped up this bread and bunged it in the oven. I found that I'd laid in some really good cheeses, and the makings for a great improvised chicken and wild rice soup. As the appointed dinner hour arrived, even though it was a soup, bread and cheese dinner, it was a great one, and with jewel -toned zinnias on the table, and soothing jazz on the stereo, I don't think anyone would even know what I'd been through, I was such a calm, cool customer. That is, until it was brought to my attention that I was covered head-to-toe with plaster dust.
Get the buttermilk.Make this bread. Save the day.
Whole Wheat Soda Bread
makes 1 8-inch round loaf
Pam spray for baking sheet
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 to 2 cups buttermilk
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Coat a baking sheet evenly with the spray.
Sift the flours, soda and salt together. Gradually add 1 1/2 cups of the buttermilk beating constantly with a large spoon until the dough is firm enough to be gathered into a ball. If the dough crumbles, beat up to a half cup more buttermilk into it by the tablespoon until the particles adhere.
Place the dough on a slightly floured board, and pat and shape in into a flat circular loaf about 8 inches by 1 1/2 inches thick. Set the loaf on the baking sheet. Cut a 1/2 inch deep X dividing it into quarters. Bake for 45 minutes or until the top is brown.
Serve immediately with butter and cheese. After the initial serving, it's great toasted with butter and jam.