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Irish Wholemeal Brown Bread Rating :  

A traditional Irish brown bread, a staple at the Irish table. You can modernise it by adding nuts, wheatgerm and even honey if you wish, but we think it's just a fabulous bread eaten plain with a knob of Irish butter and some home-made fruit jam.

Serves Makes 2 x 1lb loaves


350g (12oz) wholemeal flour
100g (4oz) plain flour
2 teaspoons bread soda
Pinch of salt
50g (2oz) porridge oats
1 medium egg
2 teaspoons olive oil
18 floz/500ml buttermilk

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1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC/325ºF/Gas Mark 3. Grease two 1lb loaf tins with oil.

2. Put the wholemeal flour into a large bowl. Sift the plain flour, bread soda and salt together in another bowl and add to the wholemeal flour. Add the porridge oats.

2. Beat the egg, olive oil and buttermilk in a jug and add to the flour mixture. Mix well (don’t overmix) until it comes together and there are no dry parts left in the mixture. Pour into the tins, shaking them to level the mixture.

3. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the bread sounds hollow when you knock it on the bottom. Take it out of the oven, leave it in the bread tin for ten minutes to cool, remove it from the tin and let it cool completely on a baking rack.

Recipe notes on Irish Wholemeal Brown Bread

– Always use a level teaspoon of bread soda, otherwise you will get a metallic taste in your bread if you use too much.

– Replace a tablespoon of porridge oats with a tablespoon of wheatgerm. It adds a nutty flavour and is very good for you.

­ – Replace 2 tablespoons of porridge oats with 2 tablespoons of crushed hazelnuts or walnuts

– Sprinkle sesame seeds or porridge oats on top of the bread to give it more texture.

– Add a tablespoon of honey to the buttermilk and egg mixture to sweeten it.

– If you want to make this recipe into a single 2lb loaf of bread, you  will need to cook it for an hour, then turn the bread over and bake it for another 10-15 minutes or until the bread sounds hollow on the bottom when you knock it.

– This bread freezes well.

– Play around with the proportions of wholemeal flour to plain flour to make a heavier or lighter bread: for example if you wish you can use an ounce more wholemeal flour and an ounce less of the plain flour to make the brown bread richer.



How to make Buttermilk at home

– If you can’t get buttermilk, you can make a passable version with milk and lemon that will work in this recipe. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to 250mls (1 cup) milk ­ and leave it for 10 minutes. Don’t worry if it curdles. We tested the recipe using both the bought version and the home-made version and they worked out fine. It’s better to use buttermilk as it has a tang that home-made buttermilk doesn’t have.


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