Unleavened Bread Recipe
Здраво and Cześć! Dia dhuit and Hello! There’s a delicious unleavened bread recipe coming your way! And two rustic soda bread recipes, too! No matter what part of the world you call home. Brought to you courtesy of Jelena and Edyta at Apple-Green.com.
Hailing from Serbia and Poland, our mission is to provide an inspired and tasty solution for your next meal. Because remember: Kitchen creativity knows no borders. Here’s bringing our best unleavened bread recipe and two traditional soda bread recipes to the Irish Buzz arena.
International food solidarity abounds!
That unleavened bread recipe
Right now, in this very moment, there are people in each corner of this planet preparing an unleavened bread recipe. Of every major ethnicity and probably every nation, earnestly whipping up their local unleavened bread. It was so in the past, it will continue to be so in the future. For savory quick bread recipes possess the dual qualities ideal for our modern age: they provide a super quick meal or side, but are also part of that deep tradition of authentic bread making.
Bread is important in many cultures, but the different types of bread and methods of preparing them are unique to each. While some types of bread do require time and skill in order to achieve a perfect loaf, this is typically not a category unleavened bread falls into. For there are some really good and healthy bread recipes that are very straightforward and can be made without much effort. Plus it is much healthier to make your own bread, even though it might not always be perfect – knowing what you put into it can compensate for any imperfections.
Soda bread is probably the easiest unleavened bread recipe to make, even for absolute beginners. We are cheating of course, when we call it unleavened bread, but yeast-free it certainly is. You don’t have to knead it nor wait for it to rise, just mix the ingredients together and straight into the oven.
This is possible because of the reaction that happens between soda bicarbonate and buttermilk: when mixed together they create tiny bubbles of carbon dioxide. Buttermilk can also be replaced with soured milk, yogurt or whey, but also lemon or vinegar mixed with water will create the same reaction – so whatever is available at home can be used to make it.
Irish soda bread history
When we think of soda bread our thoughts turn towards Ireland, but not many people go past Irish soda bread history and find out about its origin. The very first soda bread was actually made by Native Americans, who even before the discovery of baking soda used pearl ash as a leavening agent. The first recipe containing baking soda that was written down and published comes from the US and dates back to 1796. But only a century later did it make its way to Europe, forming an early association with Ireland, where traditional Irish soda bread was created.
Due to economic hardship in the country and a lack of ingredients, this simple unleavened bread recipe immediately became popular, up there with the traditional bannocks prepared in the country since ancient times. What later would become renown the world over as ‘Irish Soda Bread’ allowed people to prepare a delicious loaf using very basic ingredients: flour, soured milk, baking soda and salt.
Irish food traditions saw the bread not baked in the oven as nowadays but either on griddles or in iron cast pots over fire, due to a lack of equipment. There are many variations of soda bread in Irish baking, including your typical savory quick bread recipes, but also sweet bread recipes, coming in all shapes and sizes, and made with different flours.
Irish food traditions
Today Irish food traditions are still very strong in Ireland’s cuisine, the flavor and aroma unique to the country, inviting tourists from around the world to try it during their visit. It is particularly popular around St. Patrick’s Day, when people celebrate that special March festival while enjoying traditional Irish cuisine.
I came across soda bread years ago in a local bakery and thought it was interesting, so I decided to buy it. When I brought it home, I just spread some butter on it and enjoyed the full flavor, regretting only the fact that it was already cold. I checked out some recipes and I was very surprised at how simple it would be to make my own. I gathered all the ingredients and prepared my very first soda bread.
When I put it in the oven, I could smell it everywhere and I couldn’t wait to try it. The smell was very tempting and I remember thinking that I cannot possibly get that full experience when I buy it in the shop. And when I tried it, it woke up all my senses and I knew that homemade is the only way I will ever eat it. So, this is my favorite Irish soda bread recipe, made from only four ingredients: strong bread flour, buttermilk, bicarbonate of soda and salt. For the full recipe and directions for this and other savory quick bread recipes, please see our Recipes section over at Apple Green.
The experience of making that unleavened bread recipe from Ireland also brings back some childhood memories for me. When I was growing up in Poland, my grandma used to make some quick version of soda bread – baked on the top of the wood stove, very simple and tasty. I would like to share my traditions here.
Poland has a very strong bread-making culture. It is consumed every day, usually with breakfast and supper, and people just can’t imagine going even one day without it. Polish bread is always prepared for special celebrations and beautifully decorated to show its importance. It symbolizes hospitality and wealth. There is no wedding without the traditional “bread and salt”, where parents greet the newlyweds, wishing them prosperity for their future life together.
Savory quick bread recipes
Polish bread used to be prepared and baked once a week, or even every two weeks, and stored in a big basket – covered with cloth to keep it fresh. Sometimes the amount of bread was not enough, so people came up with a quick version of bread for when they were running short. They called it “proziak”, but from region to region the name can differ – as can its ingredients. It is a type of flatbread and can come in different shapes, but the most popular are round and square.
These (savory) quick bread recipes from Poland can have different flavors, like dill or garlic, and are often made with soured or fresh milk as a simple breakfast. This plain Polish bread can be eaten with butter, jam or honey, depending on preference, and there is also a sweet version made with sugar for those who prefer sweeter flavors.
This traditional Polish bread has lots of benefits, not only does it tastes great and can have so many variations, but it is also easy to make and, most importantly, stays fresh for a long time. Even older proziak is very tasty, I remember my grandma dipping it in water and putting on the top of the wood stove in order to “refresh” it before eating. I understood then that sometimes simple food tastes better, especially when made by you or your loved ones.
Here is a brief recipe from my grandmother’s cookbook that makes about 40 pieces: strong bread flour, bicarbonate of soda, soured milk, eggs and salt. If you would like the full recipe and directions please head on over to Apple Green. I always loved the simplicity and tradition brought by homemade meals, and Polish soda bread is definitely something that I miss – especially when homemade.
Slavic countries have strong bread traditions; it is consumed every day and has great importance during festive periods. Serbian bread is made from different ingredients, very commonly including corn, and either sweet or savory quick bread recipes are preferred, depending on the area. Bread is always made to mark the birth of a child, for family celebrations, Christmas and Easter. But the Serbian bread I would like to share is very special, as it is only baked once a year – for Orthodox Christmas on January 7th.
Česnica is always placed in the center of the table and has a coin hidden inside. Not dissimilar to the Irish tea cake tradition, when all family members have gathered at the table, the head of the household blesses the bread, rotates it counterclockwise three times and divides it between them. The person who finds the coin inside their piece of bread will have luck in the coming year, according to the legend.
The symbolic Serbian bread of Česnica is always made round, but from region to region, and among different families, people have come up with so many variations that it is hard to agree on one recipe. It can be sweet or savory and is often decorated, but it always contains a coin inside and is a true unleavened bread recipe.
I have my own family recipe which is very important to me, this is the bread we make every year for our Christmas table and whose taste I will never forget. Here are the ingredients for this scrumptious Serbian bread: cornmeal, strong bread flour, sunflower oil, sparkling water, salt. If you would like to know the full recipe and baking directions, please see our homepage.
Unleavened bread recipes: Uniting humans
After all, it does not matter where we come from; we all have our favorite bread that is special to us and our culture and I am very happy to hear about different traditions of bread making from people I meet. I am delighted to learn how to make it, even though it is not always easy to get a recipe that works for me. But I am always willing to try and make my own version.
For more quick and easy recipes, visit us at Apple Green. We will be happy to assist you with any questions you might have.
Don’t forget to check out the insightful Irish Buzz article Samhain Recipe – Irish Food Traditions. Featured on Apple Green’s thoroughly commendable food blog.