Thursday, May 20, 2010
Day 24 - "The Spotted Dog"
I've got it! The Spotted Dog that is; which happens to be a type of soda bread. We're now at a stage in the course where we are expected to practice recipes we feel we have not mastered. So today I decided to make the "Spotted Dog" in addition to making Provencal Bean Stew, fileting a flat fish, and Strawberry Jam (will finish tomorrow)!. It's a time dilema when adding an additional item to make and thank goodness for one of my classmates Tara...she got the strawberry jam started for me. Having an oven available is also a dilema so as soon as I arrived this morning I started on the bread. We weigh our ingredients here instead of using measuring cups so I quickly start at the weigh up area for the flour. Back to my station, add the salt, baking soda, and raisins to the flour. Here's where my cooking fairies were watching over me, I really mixed these ingredients together well...as the recipe said: "mix well by lifting the flour and fruit up in to your hands and then letting them fall back into the bowl through your fingers. This adds more air and therefore more lightness to your finished bread". I quickly got the buttermilk whisked with the egg, made a well in the center of the flour mixture and added 3/4 of the buttermilk/egg mixture. Began using my hand to mix wet ingredients into dry; fast and I mean fast when mixing. Dough seemed dry so added a little more milk...still dry, added all the milk. Still seemed dry but plopped it out on the counter formed my loaf and placed on the baking sheet. Now comes the part that allowed this bread to be perfect (Tom's response)...making the cross and letting the fairies out. I took my knife and made two deep cuts to form a cross from one side of the bread to the other. Then I made a slash in each of the four quadrants made by the cross...legend has it this lets the fairies out of the bread and if you don't do this your bread won't turn out. I almost didn't let the fairies out but when I asked my classmate John what he thought his response was "it never hurts to believe in a little Irish superstition!" I completely agree because my teacher said it was a perfect loaf and Tom said he would definitely buy a loaf which ofcourse means perfection!