Funny, how I never associated sodzioki with a category: bread. Bread was something bought fresh from the bakery in the morning, usually in the form of a loaf, with a crispy, golden crust, and soft, sweet-smelling middle. Sodzioki were a treat, something my babcia Basia used to make on the side of her kitchen stove. I see her now, sitting on a small stool by the warm faience stove, peacefully baking sodzioki straight on the hot plate, without a pan. They were always slightly burnt – and these were my favourite bits.
Not many of these beautiful faience stoves remained in our modern and convenient kitchens. This doesn’t mean, however, we cannot recreate some flavours in a more modern setting – and get the taste as close to the real thing as possible. Worth a try, don’t you think?
Below my Mum’s recipe for my family’s famous sodzioki. Did I say I took a few of my babcia’s sodzioki, neatly vacuum-packed, to Japan with me once? Yes, I like them that much. Crazy, no?
QUICK SODA BREADS (SODZIOKI)
1tsp baking soda
300ml kefir or buttermilk
HOW TO MAKE?
1. Add flour, salt and baking soda into a bowl, mix well with a whisk.
2. Add kefir and mix with a wooden spoon. When possible, bring everything together with your hands and knead a smooth dough.
3. Divide the dough into balls, then flatten each of them thus forming little breads. You can make them as thick/flat as you like.
4. Preheat a non-stick pan (no fat). When the frying pan is hot, drop two or three breads onto it. Bake the breads on each side until golden brown (or darker, depending on your liking).
5. They taste best when still warm, with a generous addition of butter and a sprinkle of salt.