I've had great success with the following quickbread, whose recipe is
presented here as I cribbed it off the internet (with my annotations).
There is a distinct, unmistakable soda taste, and a crumb unique among
crumbs (see below). You can bake this as one hemispheric boule or two
smaller ones, and with any mix-ins your heart desires. I've enjoyed it with
caraway seeds (1 T.) and chopped black olives (1/2 cup, but it could have
taken more if I were really determined). It meets all your criteria (as
long as multi-grain means "more than one"). I suspect any number of
ingredients could substitute for the dreaded margarine (which is really so
minor I hesitate to pick on it) - prune puree would be consistent with the
bread's flavor and appearance, but might be too heavy. Perhaps applesauce?
Brown Soda Bread
1 3/4 c All purpose flour
1 ts Salt
1 ts (heaped) baking soda<1>
2 1/4 c Whole wheat flour
2 tb Margarine<2>
1 1/4 c Buttermilk<3>
Sift flour, salt, soda into bowl. Stir in whole wheat flour, blending.
Rub in margarine lifting fingers high when mixing<4>. Add buttermilk all at
once, using fork. Add more, if needed, to make soft dough<5>. Knead until
smooth. Place on greased baking sheet; mark to deeply into four
Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes<7>. Allow to go cold on rack before
cutting<8>. Serve with butter<9>.
Preparation time: 20 minutes Baking time: 40 minutes
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1 - I use almost a double teaspoon
2 - In a startling reversal, I use butter. Just not much margarine around here.
3 - This space intentionally left blank
4 - This is easier than it sounds, especially if you melt the margarine
first. If it's still solid, I'm an advocate of the two-knife method.
5 - I always need much more, but it's easy to gradually dribble in extra,
while pressing in the remaining flour until the whole ball coheres. Still,
the dough I usually get is rather stiff and under-hydrated, and the bread
has a close (but not dense), pressed consistency, almost like cheap
6 - those markings are important, and fun. Since there's no pre-baking
rise, you don't have to be as ginger as you do with yeast doughs. Take any
old knife you like and go nuts.
7 - This is a rough estimate. Start checking early for a firm bottom, an
inner temperature of >200 F, and use the exposed innards from the oven
spring as your own window into the internal progress.
8 - You do want it a bit cool, but there's no reason to delay too long.
10-20 minutes will do it.
9 - It's also good with jam, powdered sugar, or just by its own self. And I
like it even better slightly stale, although I think I'm alone in that.
"I could be living the best and happiest of all lives if only I were not a
The sorrowful youth Werther in _The Sorrows of Young Werther_ by J.W. Goethe