Irish Brown Bread Test Kitchen: Round 2
After re-stocking my pantry with more flour and Irish butter, I am equipped to tackle the allusive recipe for brown bread again. Since the first recipe that I tried ended up being too dry, I did my homework to find wetter alternatives. I came across several recipes that added butter to the mix, as well as higher quantities of buttermilk and even honey. After some deliberation, here is the recipe that I concocted for my second attempt:
IRISH BROWN BREAD
3 cups whole wheat flour (or stone ground wholemeal flour if available)
1/4 cup unbleached white flour
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp bran (oat or wheat)
Slightly less that 1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp honey
1 large egg
2 Tbsp melted Irish butter (I used Kerrygold)
1 tsp oil
1 1/2+ cups buttermilk
pumpkin seeds (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 400.
2. Put all the dry ingredients including the sieved baking soda into a bowl and mix well.
3. Whisk the egg, add it to the butter (melted), oil and the buttermilk.
4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid. Mix well and add more buttermilk if necessary. (I found the mixture still too dry at first, so I added at least another half cup of buttermilk). The mixture should be soft and slightly sloppy/sticky (like biscuit dough).
5. Pour into an oiled bread pan and top with pumpkin seeds if desired.
6. Bake for about 60 minutes, or until the bread is nice and crusty and sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on wire rack.
I have to say, this time I think I got a little closer...inside the crusty exterior was a moist center that was more akin to the breads I ate in Ireland. The seeds on top were a worthy touch. The Kerrygold gave it a uniquely Irish buttery flavor. I think next time I want to try to find wholemeal flour to give it a more grain-dense consistency. But for now, I'm satisfied with the result and am content to each slice after slice while its still warm.