Tag Archives: buttermilk

Cheese and thyme scones/soda bread

I had some cream in the fridge that was nearing its use by date this morning so I whipped it in the mixer to make butter. The buttermilk was staring at me. So I made this beauty for lunch. It is a very simple soda bread that takes minutes to make and minutes to cook and is delicious warm out of the oven spread with butter (which, handily, I had).

I freshly milled the flour for it because I can. If you are a keen baker I urge you to consider the outlay for a home mill. It will change your baking game. The taste of freshly milled flour is wonderful. I am incredibly lucky to have an organic farmer just up the road (about 5 miles away) who is innovative in many ways, but not least in the grain that he grows on his farm. Mark Lea farms at Green Acres Farm in Kemberton and is worth following on twitter. This particular grain is Wakelyns YQ developed by Martin Wolfe on his agroforestry farm in Suffolk. It was bred by Martin as a diverse landrace so that it could resist both disease and drought and was bred for both yield (Y) and quality (Q). It has a protein content of 12% so just a little bit stronger than a plain flour but I have successfully made scones and biscuits with it that are tender rather than tough.

Can my old regular readers tell how grain/ bread obsessed I have become?

If you don’t happen to know a farmer who will sell you grain for you to mill at home…..(anyone?) then you can use any wholemeal flour that you have in the cupboard, spelt would be delicious. If you don’t have any wholemeal then by all means use all plain white.

300g flour (I used half wholemeal, half white)
230g butter milk (If you use all white flour, you may need a little less) (if you don’t have buttermilk, add a squeeze of lemon juice to milk)
1/2 (half) tsp fine salt
1/2 (half) tsp bicarbonate of soda
50g cheese and extra for the top
sprigs of thyme, chopped fine

Preheat your oven to 220c, 200c fan, gas mark 7 or use the floor of the roasting oven of the Aga. Lightly butter a baking tray.

Place your flours, salt, bicarbonate of soda and thyme in a large bowl. Mix well. Grate the cheese into the bowl and mix through the flour. Add the buttermilk and cut through using a knife until it starts to come together. Using your hands gather into a ball, place on the baking tray and flatten out. Cut into four using a knife. Brush a little extra buttermilk on top of the scones if you have some left. Grate cheese over the top.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. You can also flatten out on a lightly floured worktop and cut into scones using a cutter. They will be baked in 10-12 minutes this way.

Remove from the oven place on a wire rack and eat warm, spread with plenty of butter.

Homemade butter

My eldest daughter came home from school on Friday full of tales about how they had made butter at school and asking if we could make some at home.

I have been wanting to make my own butter for ages now and just haven’t got round to it.  I have been hunting for the perfect butter pats and nearly bought these, but then didn’t, but I will next time I pass the shop.

So we set to it to see how easy it is to make your own butter.  The eldest had made hers in a jar at school – pouring the cream in and then shaking and shaking until it turned into a solid block.  She wanted to do it this way again but she wanted to do it straight away and I didn’t have a sterile jar.  So we did it in the KitchenAid instead.  It was very easy, very quick and deeply satisfying.  We have enjoyed the butter on our bread, on pikelets and on our toast all weekend.

400ml of double cream yields 200g butter and 150ml of buttermilk.  I am not sure it works out much cheaper to make your own butter, but I will make sure I use up any odds of cream in this way from now on. The buttermilk will be used to make some scones later today.  If I had my act together better over the weekend I would have made the scones then and enjoyed them with the butter. You could also use the buttermilk in soda bread or waffles.

I added sea salt to the butter as I like my butter slightly salted, if you prefer yours unsalted then by all means leave it out.

400ml double cream
scant ½ tsp fine sea salt

Method

Place the cream and the salt (if using) in a mixing bowl and whisk. The mixture will begin to look like this.

Continue whisking and in no time at all the butter will clump together and separate from the buttermilk.

Place the butter onto a board and squash with a wooden spoon (or butter pats) until all of the buttermilk has been squeezed out.  If you don’t do this, the remaining buttermilk will turn the butter sour.

Then using two spatulas (or butter pats) shape the butter into a block, or something resembling a block if you are aged six.

Enjoy your butter and that smug glow you will have developed.

Waffles

A while back I was reading Nancy’s wonderful blog Good Food Matters and she was saying about the memories created by a waffle maker (check out the post, it really is lovely), now my own daughter had asked me about waffles that very week, asking me what they tasted like and whether  I could make her one.  I don’t own a waffle maker, and it is nigh on impossible to make a waffle without an iron.  My parents asked me what I would like for Christmas, so I asked for a waffle maker.  It was delivered to my door in October – a lovely early Christmas present.

Since then I have been experimenting with different recipes.  Some with whipped egg white, some without, some with buttermilk, some with plain milk. Anyway, I have found that whipping the egg whites does make the waffle a bit lighter, but it also requires another bowl and a bit more work. Buttermilk does add a lovely back note, but it means you have to make sure you have buttermilk in the house.  For these reasons here is the recipe I now use most often.

I haven’t stopped experimenting though and I intend to try yeast waffles soon, and chocolate waffles and buckwheat waffles (like Nancy’s).  I made potato waffles the other week, which were good but not perfect and so require a bit more experimentation before they appear here.

The waffle maker will not be a gadget that sits at the back of our cupboard any time soon and hopefully one day I will be able to write a post like Nancy’s.

200g plain flour
3 tbsp granulated sugar
½ tbsp baking powder
200ml milk
squeeze of lemon juice
60g melted butter
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs

Method

Put the flour, sugar and baking powder in a bowl.  Measure the milk and add the squeeze of lemon juice. Pour the milk, melted butter, vanilla extract and eggs into the flour mixture and whisk well until combined.

Heat the waffle maker or iron according to the manufacturer’s instructions and pour in the mixture and cook until well browned.

Eat warm with butter and maple syrup, or chocolate spread, or jam, or marmalade or anything else that you fancy.

They can also be frozen and warmed through by placing in a toaster or back into the waffle iron.

PS I forgot to say, but if you are looking for further waffle inspiration then check out Mangocheek’s wonderful suggestions for something a bit beyond the basic waffle.