A few years ago, my family and I went to Ireland. We spent a few days in Dublin, and then took a car up to Westport to spend time with family and then over to Galway. The best night was when we went out to see my Uncle Frank sing in a pub with a bunch of distant family members. Ireland was a really good time – the scenery was great, the company was superb (yes family I mean you), and the food was awesome (I think my mother would disagree with me on this one). In every restaurant or pub we went to we would get these nice pieces of warm Irish brown bread loaded with butter. Just thinking about it gets me salivating. So when St. Patrick’s Day came around this year I knew I wanted to make some Irish recipes and brown bread was my first stop. When I went to buy the ingredients I found Irish Kerrygold butter and boy does that make a difference. The bread, like most soda breads, is drier than American breads so it’s not a bread you would really want to eat alone. But when you match it with the butter.. it’s ridiculous – if you plan to make this bread I highly recommend buying Kerrygold butter or eating it with cheese. By the way, this is the first bread I’ve ever made and can I tell you how easy it is? It helps there’s no yeast so I didn’t have to wait for it to rise or anything. If you’re looking for a gateway bread, this is it.
3 cups whole wheat bread flour
1 cup unbleached white bread flour
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 3/4+ cups buttermilk
2 ounces butter
Preheat the oven to 400F. Melt the butter over low heat. In a medium-sized bowl lightly beat the egg and then gradually add the buttermilk while stirring. Beat in the butter. In another bowl, sift the dry ingredients and then mix together. Then, stir in the buttermilk mixture. I didn’t put my bread in a bread pan because it was dirty from the quickbread I made earlier that morning, but if you do the recipe says that the dough should be on the wetter side, like a thick brownie mix. If it’s too dry add in a little bit of buttermilk to make it cohesive. I did not make mine too wet as placed it on a baking sheet and shaped it into a round. I then cut an “X” into the top with a sharp knife to make it look like a shamrock (really not necessary but super cute). Bake the bread at 400F for 50 minutes on the middle rack. The bread is ready when you knock on the bottom of it and hear a hollow sound.
Recipe from 101 Cookbooks