If you’re one of the many who bake bread—and many more have gotten into bread-baking during the pandemic—here’s one for your repertoire.
And just in time for St. Patrick’s Day.
It’s a recipe for Irish brown bread: an “everyday” Irish brown bread recipe by Fred B. Dugan for King Arthur Flour.
Traditional Irish brown bread is a blend of whole wheat and white flours, baking soda, salt and buttermilk.
This version adds a bit of enrichment in the form of sugar and butter (or oil).
Slightly sweet with a craggy crumb, the recipe uses Irish-style wholemeal flour (photos #2 and #3), a soft flour coarsely ground from red whole wheat.
It’s King Arthur’s version of the whole grain flours used to bake traditional Irish breads.
It is key, says King Arthur, to use flour that imparts the right flavor and texture.
You can use the Irish-style flour for scones, tea brack (barmbrack) and other Irish baking; as well as in any non-yeast bread recipe calling for wholemeal flour.
This recipe produces a dense, complex-tasting loaf of brown bread.
Slather on plenty of rich salted butter (we personally prefer unsalted) and optional marmalade.
Buy some Kerrygold butter, imported from Ireland.
It’s one of the best grass-fed butter brands, made from milk produced by cows that graze on Irish fields and primarily eat grass.
Irish butter is often more flavorful thanks to the grass the cows eat, so it can deliver even more buttery flavor in recipes.
1. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet, or line it with parchment.
2. STIR together in a large bowl, the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder.
3. MAKE a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk and the oil or butter. Stir together until blended; some lumps will remain.
4. TURN the dough out onto a floured board and knead about 10 times, or until it all holds together. Form the dough into a large ball and place it on the prepared baking sheet. Cut a deep cross in the top.
5. BAKE the bread for approximately 40 minutes, or until it tests done (a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center will come out clean).
6. REMOVE the bread from the oven and cool it on a rack. Enjoy it warm or at room temperature. Serve with sweet butter and a dollop of marmalade, if desired.
7. STORE, well-wrapped, for a couple of days at room temperature; freeze for longer storage.
*Whole wheat pastry flour will make a moist loaf with fine crumb; Irish-Style Flour, a more traditional open-textured, drier loaf.
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