Bara Surgeirch

To prevent the retiring baker’s hands becoming idle, a contactless delivery occurs. Two mysterious white-filled glass jars on the porch shelf and a masked Carrie standing well back as instructed by the fading sign on the front door.

Carrie Rimes is the star of Bethesda’s burgeoning artisan food scene. Well actually there is no artisan food scene (apart from the cutthroat cup cake wars) but Carrie would be a star whatever the competition. She is Cosyn Cymru, producer of a very fine range of ewe’s milk cheese.

The thickish, lumpy white stuff in the jars doesn’t seem to have a name – it’s what you get when your cheese doesn’t work out and the idea is to try it out in bread making. So, start simple with soda bread where I would normally use buttermilk or, in its absence, yoghurt. This is a Welsh soda bread, Bara Surgeirch.

The top picture shows the first attempt which produced a good result but I stretched the quantity too far in making three breads when it should have been two.

So, on to the comparative stuff. Two identical breads, one using Carrie’s nameless liquid (with a sprinkling of oats for identification), the other, yoghurt (+ a bit of milk). Dough weight 480g.

Wholemeal Wheat Flour 184g (81.9%)
Oatmeal 41g (18.1%)
Liquid 247g (110.2%)
Baking Soda 4g (1.6%)
Sugar 3g (1.2%)
Salt 3g (1.2%)

Baked in a 7 inch skillet @ 200C reduced to 180C after 15 minutes. 30-35 minutes in total.

Skillet well oiled and heated in the oven.

Dry ingredients mixed, liquid quickly stirred in and scooped into the hot skillet, surface roughly smoothed and baked.

Hard to see from the photo but the one with yoghurt rose the most.

But, in soda bread, the rise is not that important. What you want is a nice, aerated, crumbly crumb and both breads have that.

The difference in taste was noticeable: Carrie’s had a more distinct flavour and there was a little crispness to the crust; the yoghurt version was blander and softer.

Well, it wouldn’t be the thing to wish a few cheese making failures on Carrie but I wouldn’t mind finding a few more jars of the quare stuff in the porch.

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