Celebrate Homemade Bread Day with Ireland's Most Popular Bread
Can you guess what is the most popular bread in Ireland?
Although visions of Irish Soda Bread may come to mind - for good reason - it is very popular and tasty. It is actually Irish wheaten or “Brown Bread” that is the most popular and arguably the most delicious type of traditional Irish bread that exists. It’s so common that you’ll find brown bread in almost every home on the island and it’s so versatile that it’s offered with a range of menu items.
On a recent day trip in Ireland, my wife Mary and I traveled to Newcastle in Co. Down to do some exploring (which we’ll tell you more about in next week’s post). Although we probably won’t be baking the bread ourselves on 11/17 in honor of Homemade Bread Day, we did find a lovely restaurant in Newcastle which featured a delightful Seafood Chowder served with brown bread. The delicious combination will warm you up on the coldest of days. Yes, that’s the bowl of Seafood Chowder served with a side of brown bread and creamy irish butter in the picture. If you can’t tell from the picture, it was amazing!
Why are we making such a big deal about Homemade Bread Day, you ask? In Ireland, baking is a tradition and trade that goes back centuries. It’s not uncommon for an Irish household to be filled with the aroma of bread rising or for an Irish person to offer you a slice from a freshly baked loaf over a cuppa tea. Most Irishmen and women eat Irish brown bread for breakfast or lunch. It’s best served simple, with a pad of Kerrygold butter or used as a dunker with soup. Maybe second only to its spirits, (the adult beverage type), bread is without a doubt, baked into the Irish culture.
Honestly, making brown bread is fairly easy and less time consuming than other recipes because you don’t need to let the dough rise. If you’d like to try your hand at baking a loaf of authentic Irish brown bread, you can use this recipe.
Traditional Irish Brown Bread
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3 cups stone ground whole wheat flour
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 1/2–3/4 pints buttermilk
- 1/2 ounce wheat germ (optional)
- 1 ounce wheat bran (optional)
Step 1: Make the Dough
Start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees. Then, add the plain flour, salt and baking soda into a medium bowl. Mix in the whole wheat flour. Stir in the wheat germ and wheat bran, too, if you’re using them. Add the molasses and enough of the buttermilk to create a soft dough.
Step 2: Form the Dough
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead just enough for the dough to come together. Form the dough into a round and place on a lightly floured baking sheet. Cut a cross in the center of the bread. (It lest the steam dissipate.)
Step 3: Bake!
Place the sheet in the middle rack and bake for about 40 minutes. The bread is ready if it sounds hollow when you tap it at the base. Cool the bread on a wire rack. Wrap a tea towel around it during this phase for a softer crust.
Step 4: Serve
We recommend cutting your brown bread and serving it on one of our rustic looking Irish cutting boards. We have a handled charcuterie style board, a large or medium cutting board or individual serving, mini board - all will help you to serve in style!
If you are really into making bread, you might also like our St. Patrick’s Day post that features an Irish Soda Bread recipe.
Whichever recipe you choose to use, let us know how it turns out. I’d love to hear from you. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Slán go fóill - Bye for now