Have you ever had that feeling, upon meeting someone new, that you’re going to know them for a long time? You don’t know how, or why, but you can just tell that there are memories to be made with them, whatever that means. You can’t read too much into it — because that “gonna keep you” vibe could have both horrible or wonderful ramifications. But none the less, they hit you in the heart and in that moment, you have faith in the world. Ya know?
I’ve been having that feeling recently. Most recently about this soda bread. During a crazy week that was filled with so much pie baking. So much family. So many things to celebrate, festivities to attend and stuff to get excited about. As it always goes, just when you can’t actually handle anything else on your plate something completely worth handling pops in. In the mix of all that goodness I realized I had forgotten to pick up the freaking bread… and then met this one. All the ingredients were hiding out there in my cabinets, right under my nose, where all the good stuff already is (except the amaranth – you can find that at a well stocked grocery store, likely in the bulk section.) The original recipe came from the October edition of Bon Appetit, and was published with a tone that reminded you it’s presence on your holiday menu would be working “health” into your meals along side the inevitable gluttony. It wasn’t the virtuous nature of whole grains that attracted me to the recipe; it was the idea of home-baked bread with very little forethought, and very little time required to bake it up (because, well, the oven was filled with PIES.) I made a couple of tweaks to suit me and the moment I pulled that first loaf from the oven, it hit me in the heart.
There are memories to be made with this bread. We’re gonna do all the toasts together. And I’m not just saying that; I wear my heart on my sleeve but I do not come about the “I’m-Keeping-You” feeling very easily. In fact, on the contrary, and particularly when it comes to a bread like this that basically cuts all the worthwhile, painstaking-craft-corners that are the part and parcel to baking bread. I absolutely respect a loaf that requires time and care as ingredients. But when you know you know, and sometimes the “wham-bam-thank-you-mam” is all the convincing you need.
Notes here: this bread is fast, fool-proof, packed with flavor and basically can be pulled together with a hand behind your back. (Now isn’t THAT a nice quality! Little management! See!? I told you! A keeper!) There are actually five whole grains in here: quinoa, millet, amaranth, oats and spelt. Plus the seeds, so it’s a proverbial nutritional powerhouse AND it has the most lovely tender crumb. I baked the loaf originally to accompany pumpkin stew for a casual little dinner party, but as I said before, there are toast memories to be had here: slatherings of maple cream, almond butter, slices of avocado and poached eggs. I cannot imagine that this bread and I will break up anytime soon, and if we do…horror. Storebought toast just is NOT the same.
I’m going to make this post snappy because – as you know- it’s that time of year when life is crazy and good. (That said, please excuse the shortage of pictures here!) But the crazy-goodness of now is just the reason I wanted to share this particular recipe with you; when things get hectic, you haven’t got much time, and you need something for breakfast, to serve with soup, or at your next holiday shindig, you’ve got to get to know this great soda-bread-friend of mine. I think you guys are going to get along really well. In fact, I think you’re going to be friends for a LONG time. 🙂
Did I mention I figured out the miracle of maple cream? Yeah. It’s in that little jar next to the bread. More on that soon. On toast! – xo L
- ¼ cup millet
- ¼ cup quinoa
- 2 tablespoons amaranth
- 1 cup rolled oats, plus more for topping
- 2¼ cups buttermilk, divided, plus more for brushing
- 1 tablespoon sunflower oil or vegetable oil, plus more for pan
- 3 cups spelt flour or whole wheat flour
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds, plus more for topping
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, plus more for topping
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- Mix millet, quinoa, amaranth, 1 cup oats, 1 cup buttermilk, and ½ cup water in a small bowl. Cover and let sit 8–12 hours. (Alternatively, bring ingredients to a simmer in a small saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat and let sit until mixture is thick like porridge, about 2 hours.)
- Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly oil an 8"-diameter cast-iron skillet or cake pan. Whisk spelt flour, all-purpose flour, flaxseed meal, salt, baking soda, and ¼ cup each sunflower seeds and pepitas in a large bowl. Work in butter with your fingers until largest pieces are pea-size.
- Make a well in the center and add brown rice syrup, oat mixture, remaining 1¼ cups buttermilk, and remaining 1 Tbsp. oil. Mix with a wooden spoon until dough is smooth and homogenous. (It will still be a bit sticky.)
- Form dough into a ball and place in prepared pan. Brush generously with buttermilk; top with more oats, sunflower seeds and pepitas. Then, cut a large X into the top and bake until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of loaf registers 190°, 55–70 minutes. Let cool in pan.
- The bread can be baked 2 days ahead. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature.