There seems to be a special day for everything! I’m not thinking of the obvious ones like Mothers Day, Fathers Day. (National Grandparents Day has just passed – it was on the tenth of September.) I’m thinking of the more obscure ones like National Chocolate Day, actually it’s today, September 13th. I kind of like the sound of National Lazy Mom’s Day but I’ve missed that – it was almost two weeks ago on the first Friday of September. Now that I’ve started checking there’s far more obscure National Days than I thought. Yes there’s a National Bloggers Day on 27th October.
Anyway, I had heard that this week, 11th to 17th September 2017, is National Bread Week in Ireland and According to its own website – it is a chance for everyone to ‘Love Your Loaf’ and celebrate all that is great about Irish bread. Interestingly on reading further – it’s an English PR company that’s handling the PR for Irish National Bread Week – that seems a little odd given we’re focussing on one of our national staples.
Yes we all love the smell of freshly baked bread. It’s true that supermarkets use it to encourage us to buy, buy, buy. House sellers (ashamedly – myself included) use it to improve the ambience of the house we are trying to sell, sell, sell. Scientists at UCD examined why we love the smell of bread. Their research was reported here in the Times and here on the National Bread Week website. In summary their research showed:
- The smell of bread makes 89% of people happy
- The favourite memory associated with bread involves mothers. A survey of 1,000 people, showed that the most popular favourite memory evoked by the smell of bread involved the word mother or mum (29%). 20% of memories mentioned the term childhood and 16% featured the word home. Grandparents also featured in 16% of memories.
- A loaf of bread contains over 540 distinct volatile compounds, although less than 20 are believed to contribute to the aroma of bread. (That’s a laugh given that the recipe below has really only 5 ingredients.) These compounds provide 8 to 12 key aroma notes which together create the smell of bread. Alongside compounds which give off a milky, buttery and malty flavour and aroma, are the more unusual cooked spaghetti, flint, green olive, grapefruit and baked onions. So if you’re bread is not smelling beautifully, who knows maybe it has more cooked spaghetti notes than usual!
Anyway, given the week that is in it, I thought I’d include my current, favourite bread recipe – Porridge Bread. Yes I love oat flakes and given that I’m trying to stay wheat-free as much as possible, Porridge Bread is a great substitute. This is my adaption of the standard recipe.
- 1 large tub of full fat Greek yogurt (500 ml)
- 2 tubs of porridge oats
- 1 small teaspoon of bread soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 egg
- Something to add interest – e.g. chopped apricots and walnuts, (today I used hazelnuts instead of walnuts) or raisins and mixed seeds
- Mix all the ingredients in a bowl
- Put into a loaf tin. (I line my very old loaf tin with (loaf tin) parchment paper which I reuse but you could just grease the tin)
- Cook at 180°C for approx 50 mins (depending on your oven)
- Leave to cool on wire tray
After writing this post, I got up and baked some bread. I timed it and it took eight minutes from start to having it in the oven. Had I not chopped apricots and nuts it would have been less than five!
There’s a lot to be said for daily bread!