Thursday, March 15, 2007

Irish Brown Bread

Traditional Irish Brown Bread
When I was in Ireland last October, I fell in love with the brown bread that the Irish serve with just about every meal. Brown bread is hearty bread with whole wheat flour, oats, wheat germ and it tastes incredible when you spread some real Irish butter all over it. But a secret of this delightful bread is that just about every household in Ireland makes the bread from a mix...yes, a mix! There are several excellent brown bread mixes out there. I personally have used Odlums Brown Bread Mix but I hear that McCann's also has a good bread mix. Oh, and if you actually want to make traditional Irish brown bread from scratch, here's the recipe. If you make it, let me know how it came out.


  • 1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 ¾ cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 tablespoons toasted wheat bran
  • 3 tablespoons toasted wheat germ
  • 2 tablespoons old-fashioned oats (do not use quick-cooking oats)
  • 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  1. Preheat oven to 450ºF. Do not start until the oven is hot.
  2. Butter and flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan.
  3. Put the first 8 ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Mix well.
  4. Add butter; rub in with fingertips until mixture resembles fine meal.
  5. Scoop out a well in the flour and pour in about ¾ of the buttermilk. With your fingers draw the flour into the buttermilk, mixing them with as light a touch as you can. The dough should come together easily into a soft ball, if it is too dry add a little more buttermilk but avoid allowing the dough to become sticky.
  6. Turn the dough onto a floured board and transfer dough to prepared loaf pan. Place in the oven immediately.
  7. After 10 minutes reduce the heat to 400ºF. Bake for another 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and knock on the base of the loaf - if it sounds hollow it is done. If not, return to the oven for about 5-10 minutes more.

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