Recipe for St. Patrick’s Day: Irish Brown Bread

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irish brown bread recipe for st. patrick's day

This recipe is adapted from The Secret of Jesuit Breadmaking by Brother Rick Curry, S.J., a wonderful resource for anyone who feels a little daunted at the idea of baking their own bread. Recipes are simple, approachable and cover tons of traditional breads from all over the world. And this is a good one. It’s embarrassingly easy to make and will make your house smell like that fancy artisanal bakery you love.

Irish Brown Bread is usually served at breakfast or with tea. There’s no sweetener so it’s hearty and rustic, not like American cake-style breads. And it tastes best fresh from the oven with a healthy spread of tangy European-style cultured butter (I like Vermont Creamery) and a dollop of jam.

This is a personal favorite in my house because it takes five minutes to throw together and the dough is so kid-friendly— there are no raw eggs and can stand up to being over-kneaded. I usually break a piece off for each child and let them make their own mini brown bread loaves.

Irish Brown Bread

Adapted from Secrets of Jesuit Breadmaking by Brother Rick Curry, S.J. (William Morrow Cookbooks, 1995)

Ingredients

  • 4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 cups bread flour or unbleached whole-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 cups buttermilk

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Butter two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans or two 9-inch round cake pans.
  3. Combine the two flours, then add the baking soda and mix well.
  4. Add the butter and buttermilk and use your hands to mix well.
  5. Divide the dough evenly and form each half into a tight ball, so there are no air holes in the baked bread.
  6. Place the batter in the loaf pans and push down to compact each loaf, then place the loaf pans in the oven. If using round cake pans, place the dough in the center of the pan and shape into the size you want. The dough doesn't need to touch all of the sides, and won’t rise very much.
  7. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes. Test for doneness by placing a knife in the thickest part of each loaf. If the knife is dry to the touch, the bread is done.
  8. Remove bread from pans and transfer bread to a wire rack to cool.
http://food.lohudblogs.com/2014/03/10/recipe-irish-brown-bread/

Irish Brown Bread

Ingredients

4 cups whole wheat flour

3 cups bread flour or unbleached whole-purpose flour

3 teaspoons baking soda

1 stick unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

3 cups buttermilk

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans or two 9-inch round cake pans.

Combine the two flours, then add the baking soda and mix well.

Add the butter and buttermilk and use your hands to mix well.

Divide the dough evenly and form each half into a tight ball, so there are no air holes in the baked bread.

Place the batter in the loaf pans and push down to compact each loaf, then place the loaf pans in the oven. If using round cake pans, place the dough in the center of the pan and shape into the size you want. The dough doesn’t need to touch all of the sides, and won’t rise very much.

Bake for 45 to 60 minutes. Test for doneness by placing a knife in the thickest part of each loaf. If the knife is dry to the touch, the bread is done.

Remove bread from pans and transfer bread to a wire rack to cool.

 

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About Author

Megan McCaffrey is a food writer for The Journal News and contributor to the Small Bites Blog. She has a degree in Digital Media from Fordham University and a fondness for good craft beer. She loves to bake, read cooking blogs and taste all the Lower Hudson Valley has to offer. Megan lives in Ridgefield, Connecticut with her husband and three kids.

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