Saturday, February 19, 2011

Friday's at university always include an English Subject Knowledge class. From the very first of these subject knowledge classes, I felt I was very much lacking in the knowledge department. Despite English being one of my favourite subjects and strengths at school, I am constantly finding out things that I do not know. I suppose that is the whole purpose of this class, but there is something slightly overwhelming when half of the language used in a seminar is unfamiliar. I am meant to know all about split digraphs, phonemes, graphemes & all things phonic; superlatives, prefixes & suffixes and a million and one other words that I do not yet understand. Needless to say, I always leave that particular class feeling like my head is in a whirl. 

After today's class, I said to my friends who were feeling like their heads were spinning just as much as mine, 
'I need to do some baking.'

So I went home and that is exactly what I did. I gave myself a little bit of sweet relief in the form of weighing, mixing, stirring, pouring and baking. My inspiration came from the brilliant Joy. Visiting her blog is always a delight and sure to provide plenty of inspiration, laughs & will leave you salivating and desperate to get into your kitchen. I happened across her Molasses bread, which came out of my oven an hour and a half later. The bottle of molasses from Barbados won me over, as I feel an affinity with the lovely little island in the Caribbean that we went for our honeymoon last year. So, although 'Molasses' in American translates to 'Black Treacle' in British, and my jar of treacle was not as pretty as the Bajan molasses bottle, I felt my treacle would be up to the task.

I made a few adaptations to Joy's recipe, out of necessity. Firstly, I used a mixture of wholemeal self raising flour & normal self raising flour, as I didn't have enough wholemeal. Secondly, I used oat bran instead of cornmeal. As far as I understand, cornmeal is the American version of polenta. I didn't have any polenta to hand, so I used something that looks similar, and kind of has a similar texture. I figured it probably wouldn't cause too much damage as a substitute. 

Thirdly, instead of buttermilk, I used a mixture of greek yoghurt (250ml / 1cup), and homemade buttermilk - 250ml milk & 1 tbsp of white wine vinegar. (You can also use lemon juice if you don't have the vinegar.)

So, those were the main changes.

250g wholemeal self raising flour
375g white self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
125g oat bran
a shake of salt 
650 ml buttermilk (substituted as above)
125ml treacle / molasses
Preheat oven to 160C / gas mark 4 / 325F
Grease & line a loaf tin (I used a 4 " x 9 " tin approx.)

1) In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.

2) In a small bowl, combine the wet ingredients.

3) Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. The consistency should be slightly sticky, not dry. 
4) Pour into prepared tin and bake for 1 hour until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

5) Leave to cool in the tin for 20 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

6) Eat! This sweet bread is quite tasty in its plain form, although after a few mouthfuls, it feels like it needs some kind of spread to accompany it. I ate mine with cream cheese & strawberry jam. Just butter, or nutella would be equally as delicious.

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