Irish Brown Bread is as typical as a pint of Guinness. It is a close cousin, or stepbrother to the Irish soda bread made with white flour. Although today both are equally popular, brown bread was initially more common because white flour was more expensive.
People with less resources favored brown bread since it cost less to make. Irish Brown Bread today is also made by artisan bakeries who take great pride in turning out these delicious loaves.
On my recent family trip to Ireland I was very happy that Irish Brown Bread was served at every meal. Whether at a pub or restaurant, Irish brown bread was always present. I am not exaggerating when I say that the bread basket was “attacked” as soon as it hit the table. “More bread please!” was a constant request.
Irish Brown Bread was delicious by itself, but even more so slathered with delicious Irish butter, and your favorite jam. Mmmmm Irish Butter, made from grass fed cow’s milk. It’s so creamy, yummm! Trust me it is beyond delicious. I actually like to use it on my bread in the morning instead of regular butter, which I use for baking.
Irish Brown Bread, like its counterpart that is made with white flour is also baked with a cross sliced on the top of the loaf. The rich thick molasses add a great touch of sweetness without being overpowering. As I mentioned in a previous post, this is done for scientific reasons. By cutting into the bread, the heat will be able to penetrate it and thus allow the center to cook well. On the superstitious side, the cross is to let the devil out!
Irish Brown Bread is great for dipping into a nice big bowl of Guinness Stew or Dublin Coddle, a stew of sorts made with bangers(pork sausages), potatoes and herbs. I am currently drooling as I write this.
I know you’ll be tempted to start munching on this bread as soon as it comes out of the oven. Hold back, you’ll need it for the stew or for your breakfast the next morning.
BTW… to make this recipe you can use a stand mixer instead of a food processor.
If you are looking for more Irish recipes to make for Saint Patrick’s Day or anytime at home here are a few of my favorites to try or bookmark for later. Irish butter cookies are favorite melt in your mouth shortbread cookie recipe that does call for Irish butter, no substitutes. If you want to make a delicious soup for your family then you have to try Irish potato leek soup. A more unusual dish to try would be Irish pub style salmon tartlets with a nice smoky flavor and creamy texture.
If you are into authentic Irish drinks them you will want to check out the recipe and history of Irish coffee and another interesting warm hot toddy like libation, the Scailtin or Irish whiskey milk punch. Both of these will warm you up on a cold night!
Irish Brown Bread
This traditional moist Irish brown bread is great with breakfast, slathered with butter or a healthy dollop of jam.
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 3/4 white flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup of oats
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 3/4 cups buttermilk
- 2 Tbsp molasses
- 4 Tbsp butter cut into small cubes
- 1 tsp olive oil for brushing
- Preheat oven to 375'F.
- In the bowl of a food processor, place both flours.
- Add salt, oats and baking soda. Pulse a few times to blend everything together.
- Add buttermilk, butter and molasses and pulse until mixture begins to form a ball.
- Transfer to a floured surface and knead lightly. Place on a floured baking sheet.
Make a large ball, and cut in half.
With the palm of your hand flatten down a bit. Each ball should not be taller than 1/2"
With a sharp knife cut a deep cross on top of each ball. Brush with olive.
Bake for 40 minutes or until the top of the bread sounds hollow when tapped.
You can also take the internal temperature in the middle of each loaf. It should be around 205'F.