Irish Brown Bread: Seasonal Chef Recipe


March is one of my favorite months. We finally begin to emerge from the bleak Winter. Tiny bits of green are pushing their way through the cold ground, my orchid blooms at home, the clocks “spring” ahead, and we celebrate a fun Irish holiday. I decided to challenge myself and do a little baking this time.

Two years ago I created a tasty Shepherd’s Pie.

Shepherd's Pie, Seasonal Chef, Maria Reina

Just for good measure I made it again this week and it was as delicious as when I created it. The key, and a very important one: is to make sure you reduce the liquid as I instruct. Your end result should be a thick, glossy and very delicious filling.


Last year I worked up a classic Irish dish into something a little different: a root vegetable Boxty, which garnered high marks.

Irish flour for baking

Looking to go as authentic as I could I turned to my friend Brona. On her advice I headed to Yonkers, McClean Avenue to be exact, and the famous butcher shop called the Butcher’s Fancy. Right at the front door I found my flour, and a variety of other items.

This recipe will take as little as five minutes of active time, and bake in 45. Within an hour you will be enjoying this lovely bread. To read more about how I created it, and some interesting variations click this link: Celebrating Spring and Getting my Irish On.

Buon Appetito!

One year ago: Root Vegetable Boxty
Two years ago: Shepherd’s Pie
Three years ago: Grilled Shrimp and Corn

Seasonal Chef Maria Reina Irish Brown Bread

Raisin-Walnut Irish Brown Bread
Makes 1 loaf

2½ cups coarse whole wheat flour, I used Odlum’s Coarse Wholemeal flour
½ cup of toasted wheat germ
½ cup ground flax, I used Bob’s Red Mill Gold Flax Meal
½ cup hemp hearts
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 tablespoons of Lyle’s Black Treacle
1 tablespoon honey
5 tablespoons Kerrygold Butter, melted
2 cups of buttermilk, room temperature

1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
2. Add all the dry ingredients to a bowl and combine with a whisk.
3. In another bowl mix the milk, honey, treacle and butter.
4. Blend all together with a spatula, until combined.
5. Turn into a buttered or sprayed loaf tin. Bake for about 45 minutes. It’s done when the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when you tap it. Remove and cool on a rack.

1) Brona’s original recipe: Just 2 tablespoons of honey for the sweetener and 2 teaspoons of baking powder.
2) Savory Flavored: Use only 2 tablespoons of treacle and eliminate the honey, raisins and walnuts

Cook’s notes:
• If going authentic you need to get Odlum’s flour and Lyle’s treacle. In Westchester County, NY you can find both at The Butcher’s Fancy in Yonkers. It’s a great little grocery and butcher shop on McClean Avenue. You can also find them on line.
• Flax and hemp can be found in the organic aisle at the grocery store. You can also find them both at Whole Foods in the bulk bin.


About Author

Seasonal Chef blogger Maria Reina comes to the world of food as a third career, spending a great portion of her adult life in the field of Human Resources. With her private company Bella Cucina Maria she is a personal chef, caterer and recreational cooking class teacher in Westchester. She's an avid food television watcher and cookbook collector, always looking for a new take on a traditional dish. In her free time she loves hanging out at local farmer's markets, chatting it up with the farmers and doing cooking demos with their seasonal ingredients. In addition to her blog, which is loaded with easy recipes, you can follow her on Facebook (Bella Cucina Maria), Twitter (Bellacucinam), Instagram (Bellacucinam) and Pinterest (Bellacucinam).

1 Comment

  1. Hi Maria,

    Sounds like a good recipe that I’ll try, but how much raisins and how much walnuts?
    I think I’ll use all honey(2 TBSP), no treacle, and then just 2 teaspoons baking powder rather than a tablespoon, as this resembles honey cake, which my family loves. Thank you.

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