Another post from Glenny!
How often do you find milk going bad in your fridge? For me, its often. I love milk in my coffee, but I only ever use a splash. Cereal? I eat it occasionally, but certainly not enough to merit buying anything more than a quart. Still, I’m always frustrated when I don’t have any in the apartment and have to dash out and hope for the best at my local market. (I’ve been drinking Hudson Valley Fresh Whole Milk, and am often reluctant to buy other brands.) So, I find souring milk all of the time.
The good news is that milk that is going off is still usable! It has turned into buttermilk, which is a needed ingredient in all sorts of biscuits, breads, and other baked treats. When you find milk that is past its expiration, don’t throw it out! It’s time to bake! Not that you should need an excuse.
My favorite recipe using buttermilk is the very simple, very rustic Irish Soda Bread. Consisting of few ingredients, this bread is a breeze to make, and is ready for noshing within an hour. No rising, no kneading, no yeast. If served with an easy soup of fall vegetables, you’ll impress your very satisfied diners. And, voila! No more sour milk!
Irish Soda Bread
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
14 oz buttermilk (just under two cups)
Preheat the oven to 450 F. Sieve the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in all of your milk. Using your hand and a circular movement, gently mix the buttermilk into the dry ingredients. The dough should be softish, not too wet and sticky. When it all comes together, turn it out onto a well-floured work surface.
Gently form the dough into a round about 1 1/2 inches deep. Cut a deep cross on the loaf and prick in the four corners (the Irish say it is to “let the fairies out”). Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, then turn down the heat to 400 F for another 30 minutes until it is cooked through. If you’re in doubt, tap the bottom of the bread: when cooked it should sound hollow.
Cool on a wire rack.
If you’re feeling ambitious, try adding new ingredients like raisins, dried cherries, caraway seeds, fennel seeds, chocolate chips, olives, etc. etc. etc.