I'm Irish. And I love love LOVE potatoes.
Mashed, steamed, (french) fried, saladed, O'Brien'd, even Tater-Totted – potatoes are my BFF (best friend forever, for those of you without regular contact with teenage girls).
Cabbage - pretty good, especially quickly sautéed and served crisp. Or made into coleslaw.
Corned beef? Lukewarm (even when hot in a sandwich).
Irish brown bread?
Don't get me wrong; I'm a huge fan of American-style Irish soda bread, with its sugar and butter and eggs and raisins and caraway.
But a classic Irish soda bread, made with brown (whole wheat) flour, baking soda, and buttermilk?
No thanks; I'll go for the bowl of Raisin Bran instead.
So it was with great reluctance that I accepted a recent assignment to blog one of our newest recipes, Irish Buttermilk Brown Bread.
"Aw, Mom, do I hafta?!"
Our Irish-style wholemeal flour, a whole wheat flour flecked with bran. Maybe I won't have to eat that Raisin Bran after all...
Once I got into it, this was a simple, extremely easy bread to make. And the result?
Tasty. I kid you not. A bit sweet, a tad buttery, moist, and perfect spread with sweet cream butter.
Want to try a 100% whole wheat loaf that the whole family will enjoy? Start here.
First, preheat your oven to 375°F. Grease a 1 1/2 to 2-quart baking dish, or an 8" or 9" cast-iron skillet or cake pan that's at least 1 1/2" deep.
Whisk together the following:
4 cups (16 ounces) King Arthur Irish-Style Wholemeal Flour or King Arthur Premium Whole Wheat Flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk powder*
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
In a separate bowl, whisk together the following:
1 1/2 cups water*
1 large egg
1/4 cup melted butter or vegetable oil
*Substitute 1 1/2 cups buttermilk in place of the water and buttermilk powder, if desired.
Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the liquids. Stir together until blended and no dry spots remain; the dough will be soft and sticky. In fact, it's probably more of a stiff batter than a soft dough.
Scoop the batter into the prepared pan, mounding it in the center.
Brush the top with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Wait 5 minutes for the liquid to be absorbed by the flour before baking.
Bake the bread for 35 to 45 minutes, or until it tests done.
A cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center will come out clean. Also, an instant-read thermometer will read just over 200°F in the center.
Angle the thermometer up until its tip is about 1/2" under the surface; this is the last part of the loaf to bake. You should get a reading of over 195°F.
Remove the bread from the oven, and set it on a rack to cool a bit. This picture-perfect loaf was already cool, in case you're wondering why it's not on a rack.
Serve warm, with butter and honey, or butter and jam, or just marmalade. Cinnamon-sugar is always welcome.
Read, bake, and review (please) our recipe for Irish Buttermilk Brown Bread.