Once you have a pot of soup simmering on the stove, the only thing you need to make it a meal is a nice chunk of warm bread. (Ok, a salad is nice too, but it’s not essential.) I often make soda breads when I’m planning dinner on the fly because they require no rising time. You can just mix one up and tuck it into the oven while you go about your cooking, and it will be waiting on the table when the rest of your meal is done.
These mini soda breads bake even more quickly, although they take a few moments longer to shape than a single loaf. But the reward is a high proportion of crusty surface, begging to be broken up and slathered with butter or dunked into a steaming bowl of soup.
Mini Whole Wheat Soda Breads: In a large bowl, combine 2 c. whole wheat flour, 2 c. all purpose flour, 1 heaping tsp. salt, and 1 heaping tsp. baking soda. Mix well. Make a well in the center and add 2 c. buttermilk, stir to combine. Turn out onto a floured countertop. The dough will be shaggy, but you should be able to form it into a rough ball by kneading it just a few times (don’t knead for more than a minute). Cut the dough into 10 wedges and shape each into a rough ball, using additional flour if necessary. Place rounds on a floured cookie sheet, cut a deep cross in each, and brush with buttermilk if desired. (Brushing with buttermilk will smooth the surface out and make the rolls more refined-looking, but I personally like the craggy surface that I get without additional buttermilk.) Bake about 35 mins. at 400, or until the tops and bottoms of the rolls are crisp when tapped with a fingernail.
Looking for a soup to dunk these in? A few recent favorites:
The Best Soup of 2011
Silky 5-Ingredient Cauliflower Soup
Split Pea Soup
Roasted Maple Squash Soup
White Bean and Spinach Soup
The Best Red Lentil Soup of 2012
Cauliflower and Cheddar Soup