Hearty Brown Bread:
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 cup of steel cut oats, such as McCann's Irish Oatmeal*
- pinch of salt
- 1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 1 1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
- 1 tsp. of honey
In a large bowl, combine the whole wheat flour, whole wheat pastry flour and steel cut oats. Stir with a wire whisk to mix thoroughly. Add the salt and baking soda and whisk again to combine well. Add the buttermilk and honey, then stir with a wooden spoon until the buttermilk is fully incorporated and the dough has formed. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and kneed gently, approximately 12 to 15 turns.
Place the dough into the prepared loaf pan and press slightly so as to fit the dough to the pan and into the corners. Bake in the middle of a pre-heated 400 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until light golden brown. The finished bread will sound hollow when the bottom is tapped. (Mine was finished at exactly 30 minutes.) Do not over-bake. Remove the finished loaf from the pan immediately and wrap it in a clean tea towel (dish cloth) - this will ensure that the loaf will not harden as it cools.
As written this recipe will yeild one loaf.
*You must use the steel cut oats in this recipe, not rolled oats. And, yes, you use them raw. Don't ask me why, just know that its OK. The oats will not be hard, but they will add a marvelous, chewy texture to the bread.
This is another variation of Irish soda bread and its perfect for those who wish to eschew the more traditional, butter laden variety. I encountered this bread several times on my last trip to Ireland and for the life of me I couldn't figure out what gave it that nutty, chewy texture. Somewhere on that trip I bought a copy of the Irish Baking Book by Ruth Isabel Ross, and finally I had my answer. This recipe is adapted from that book.
The bread is so simple, so hearty and delicious, its become one of my all time favorites. It takes all of five minutes to prepare, yet tastes like you've spent the day crafting it. As a vehicle for the spectacular Kerrygold, it excels ... but don't just take my word for it, get in the kitchen and get baking!