Thursday, May 5, 2011

Recipe: Irish Brown Bread

Irish Brown Bread
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Irish brown bread

I've never posted a recipe before, but I need to get this one down before I forget it. A few weeks ago we tried out a new Irish gastropub for lunch. My potato leek soup came with the most delicious slice of bread I've ever eaten, as well as the yummiest, richest butter I'd tasted in a long time--Kerrygold. The menu said it was "Irish brown bread," so when I got home I searched for recipes online and found this one  from 101 Cookbooks. I also discovered that you can buy Kerrygold butter at Trader Joe's (effing right!), so I immediately went out and bought both salted (for eating) and unsalted (for cooking) Kerrygold butter.

We made a few modifications to the original recipe, our version listed below, and the end result wasn't as dense as the restaurant's, but it's still very good. This is a soda bread but what makes it "brown" is apparently the whole wheat flour. I have to say, I much prefer this type to the regular kind of soda bread.  The dense, wheaty, earthy bread with salty, creamy butter really hooked me, and I almost wish it was fall/winter again so I could have a slice of this with a cup of hot soup every night.

2 - 2 1/4 cups buttermilk
2 ounces Kerrygold unsalted butter
1 large egg
3 cups whole wheat bread flour
1 cup unbleached white bread flour
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

Melt the butter over low heat or in microwave. Pour into mixing bowl and beat in the egg, slowly adding the buttermilk and incorporate the ingredients fully. In a separate bowl, sift and mix the flour, salt, and baking soda. Slowly add dry ingredients to the butter mixture while mixing on low speed.

Original author's note: "If you are using a baking tin the mixture should be on the wetter side. If your dough is too dry, mix in small splashes of buttermilk until it is the right consistency." Note: This was the case for us, and that's why we added an extra half cup of buttermilk than what the original recipe called for.

Bake at 400F for 50 minutes.

Makes 1 standard loaf; we used 3 small loaf pans so we could freeze the extra.

[Author's note: I recommend eating this bread with Kerrygold butter spread generously on it. Over the last few months I have switched to soy butter for various reasons, including the fact that the regular butter I was buying started tasting gross to me, but I have come around again to dairy butter after tasting this magical stuff.]

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