Thursday, December 20, 2012

Irish Brown Bread



Irish Brown Bread
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When Shannon was in Ireland during her BYU London study abroad, she loved this dense, hearty, nutty-tasting bread.  It took her a long time to find a way to make it, and when she finally baked some for us we loved it! So here’s her recipe. It’s perfect slathered with butter and jam.  Or, it’s a great companion to stew, soup or breakfast. 

Brown Bread is simply a whole-wheat version of Irish Soda Bread (the Irish don’t use the term “whole-wheat”). They usually bake with Odlum’s Extra Course Stone Ground Wholemeal flour. The wheat germ and wheat bran mimic the coarsely ground flour, but if you have a wheat grinder at home,you can omit the those two ingredients and simply grind your wheat on a coarser setting.
We love it with Shannon’s addition of leftover, cooked, multi-grain cereal.

2 C red whole-wheat flour, coarsely ground
1 C white whole-wheat (pastry flour), freshly ground
½ C leftover cooked multi-grain cereal (or ½ C wheat germ & ½ C wheat bran if using storebought whole wheat flour)
½ C ground flax seed
1 TBL baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 TBL brown sugar or honey
1 ¾ C buttermilk (powdered kind works great)
½ C Greek yogurt
2 TBL butter
1 egg
1 egg white (optional – to brush top of loaf)
1 tablespoon dry oatmeal (optional – used to sprinkle top of loaf before baking)

1.     Preheat your oven to 400ยบ and grease a 10-inch round springform tin.
2.     Into a large mixing bowl sift the flours and soda.  Add the salt.  If using, add the wheat germ, wheat bran and ground flax.  Add the brown sugar. Mix well.
3.     Into a small mixing bowl add buttermilk, yogurt, egg and melted butter.  Whisk them all together. Stir in the cooked multi-grain cereal.
4.     Pour the buttermilk mixture into a well in the middle of the dry ingredients.
5.     Mix together until the flour is uniformly wet.  This is a fairly “wet” dough.  Most brown, soda bread recipes form a drier dough, which is kneaded gently until the dough forms a smooth ball.  This mixture is a little too wet for kneading.
6.     Turn out the dough straight into the baking tin.
7.     Now it is time to “pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake”.  Pat the dough down into the pan using floured hands or the back of a large floured spoon.  You can use a lot of flour to create a rustic looking loaf.
8.     Score the top of the loaf with a serrated knife. Then, sprinkle the top of the loaf with dry oatmeal if desired. 
9.     Bake for 45 to 55 minutes.  The bread is baked when it is tapped underneath and has a hollow sound.
Notes:
·       When the bread is cooked, remove it from the tin and swaddle it in a clean tea towel or two.  This helps trap the steam from the cooling bread, and prevents the crust from getting too hard.  Cool the wrapped loaf on a wire tray.
·       Buy powdered buttermilk and mix the amount you need whenever you bake.  A lot of real buttermilk goes to waste since only part of the carton is used in a recipe.

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