Sunday, March 7, 2010

Irish Brown Bread

I have a post for Irish Soda Bread (here) which contains the usual ingredients as well as an egg, butter, and currants and I really like the recipe.

However, I was reading the March 2010 issue of Bon Apetit and it has an article called a Slice of Ireland. It's a quick story regarding Andrew McCarthy searching the Irish Countryside for the perfect slice of brown soda bread.

From Dublin at Fallon & Byrne to Moran's Oyster College. He winds up at Ballinalacken Castle Country House and Restaurant where we discover Mrs. O'Callaghan's Irish Brown Soda Bread which she has been making for 45 years.

I admit I'm a sucker for old, time-worn recipes so naturally HAD to make this.

The author's description of it says it best:  "There's a firmness to its texture, but there's an elasticity as well. It's coarse, but there's a surprising softness - a gentleness to its taste. And it has that telltale sweetness that lingers."

This bread is simple, straight-forward, and absolutely delicious. Do give it a try soon.


Nonstick oil spray
3 cups bread flour
3 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 stick chilled butter, but into small cubes
2 to 2 1/2 cups buttermilk. (It called for 2 but I had to use 2 1/2 to get the dough to form a ball)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Spray baking sheet with nonstick spray. Whisk both flours, sugar, and baking soda in bowl to blend. Add butter and cut into flour thoroughly. Add buttermilk; stir until a sticky balls forms.
Turn out onto floured surface and knead briefly until dough comes together, about 5 to 10 turns. Shape into a round ball and place on baking sheet. Cut a large X, 1/2 inch deep across the top of the dough.

Bake until the bread is deeply browned (45 minutes to 1 hour) and sounds hollow when tapped on the top. This bread will "look" done well before it is, so prepare to generally bake for the full time shown.

Let cool and serve with fresh butter. Oh man, this is the best.


James P. Walsh said...

This looks like the real McCoy. Great with some fresh butter and jam.

Rajesh Kumar said...

I was lucky enough to visit Ballymaloe last month and take a bread-making course in the kitchen with RJ. This brown bread is unbelievable and I can’t wait to make it myself, so thanks for the helpful tips about the ingredients. I have bits of my loaf from there still frozen; I can’t bear to finish it!

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