I have so many fond memories of the trip I took to Ireland: driving cross country listening to a song by Queen in Gaelic on the radio, horseback riding along the beach, the beautiful friendly people, dancing with a French man in a bar in Clifden, lovely people buying me way too many drinks for my birthday in Dublin, seeing U2 on a beautiful summers night as lilting Irish voices sang along to songs about pain and freedom, eating lobster in Howth that was so fresh and delicious I was going to stab anyone that asked to take a bite, making life long friends and finally Irish Brown Bread.
It has taken me a couple of tries, and my bread will never taste as good Ireland's, but it's pretty darn close.
What makes Irish Brown Bread so delicious is its nutty sweet taste. The problem is that in the states we over process our flour. Try to get milled flour instead of store bought, because it makes a difference (I bought my flour at Baker Miller). I have added hemp seeds (after countless taste tests to try to match the taste from Ireland) to give it a bit of that nutty flavor. The original recipe says you can skip the wheat bran, wheat germ and oats, but I would definitely keep them in.
Slather with Irish or organic butter while still warm and enjoy.
Irish Brown Soda Bread
1 3/4 c. all purpose flour
1 3/4 c. whole wheat flower
3 T. toasted wheat bran
3 T. toasted wheat germ
2 T. old fashioned oats
3T Hemp Seeds (this is my addition)
2 T packed brown sugar (I use fall or buckwheat honey in place of the brown sugar)
1 t. baking powder 1/2 t. salt
2 T. chilled unsalted butter cut into pieces
2 cups or so of buttermilk
Preheat oven to 425 Butter a 9 inch loaf pan
Combine first 8 ingredients in a large bowl and mix. Add the butter and rub it into the flour. Stir in the buttermilk until a soft dough forms and you can scrape up all the dry bits. Don't overwork. It is fairly wet dough.
Put it in the loaf pan and bake about 40 minutes. Do the toothpick test in the center to make sure it is done. Turn it out of its pan, and let it cool on a rack. This is a nutty, wheaty, slightly sweet bread.
The original recipe came from an older Bon Appétit recipe.