Hearty Irish Brown Bread, slathered with salty butter. YUM! It’s great with both savory or sweet toppings and is a perfect accompaniment to any soup or stew. It has an incredibly satisfying crunch to it when toasted. Delicious! This dense, craggy bread may not be for you if you prefer something akin to Wonder bread, but if you like the whole grain experience, this bread is to die for. And, guess what? It is very easy to make.
Traditionally, brown bread was made with whole wheat flour, baking soda, salt and buttermilk. This version is enriched with a bit of sugar and butter as well as some baking powder for a bit of extra lift. I use a special blend of Irish Flour from King Arthur Baking company, rather than just plain whole wheat flour. I also brush the loaf with melted salted butter and sprinkle with just a bit of sea salt before I pop it in to bake. Oh and don’t forget to cut a cross in the top as well. Some folks say this helps the bread cook evenly. I’ve also heard it is done as a blessing to keep the devil away. My favourite reason is that you cut a cross in to allow the fairies to escape!
I have no doubt you will be pleased as punch with this wholesome Irish Brown Bread. And don’t forget to slather on that rich salty Kerry Gold Butter!
Irish Brown Bread
recipe slightly adapted from: King Arthur Baking
- 4 cups (439 grams) King Arthur Irish-Style Flour
- 2 to 3 tablespoons (25 grams to 35 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 cups (340 grams) buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons (28 grams) melted butter plus a bit more for brushing over top
- flaky sea salt
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet, or line it with parchment.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder.
Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk and the butter. Stir together until blended — some lumps will remain.
Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead about 10 times, or until it all holds together.Form the dough into a large ball, flatten slightly and place it on the prepared baking sheet. Cut a deep cross in the top. Brush melted butter over the top of the loaf and sprinkle with flaky sea salt.
Bake the bread for approximately 40 minutes, or until it tests done (a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center will come out clean).
Remove the bread from the oven, and cool it on a rack. Enjoy warm or at room temperature. Serve with sweet butter and a dollop of marmalade, if desired. Or alongside some Irish Stew or Cottage Pie.
Store, well-wrapped, for a couple of days at room temperature; freeze for longer storage.