We have finished our ham, asparagus, carrots and roasted potatoes. The pans are done and the guys have moved off to a round of golf on our little 9 hole course. I am just about to walk the pup, but decided to sit for a few moments and enjoy the quiet.
I’ve included a very easy recipe for traditional Irish bread, made from whole wheat, that is light and tasty. It’s a baking soda bread made without yeast. Do mix in the baking soda well, as a little lump in the baked bread will not be pleasant!
Time to walk the dog! May there always be a rainbow at the end of your path. See you on Tuesdays!
Irish brown bread
Makes 1 round loaf
Brown bread, leavened with baking soda and made mostly with whole-wheat flour, is said to be the real Irish bread. The familiar cross cut into the top of the loaf allows heat to penetrate the center so the bread bakes evenly. This version, from Theodora FitzGibbon’s “A Taste of Ireland,” cools on a rack so the crust is crisp. For a softer bread, wrap the hot loaf in a clean dish towel until cooled.
4 cups whole-wheat flour (I use 2 cups whole wheat and 2 Cups White Whole Wheat)
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2⅔ to 3 cups cold buttermilk ( I added about a tablespoon of molasses in one of the cups to give it just a hint of sweet)
All-purpose flour (for sprinkling)
1. Set the oven at 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a bowl, whisk the whole-wheat and all-purpose flours, baking soda, and salt to blend them. Make a well in the center and pour in 2⅔ cups of buttermilk. Using a wooden spoon, stir the mixture lightly and quickly to blend fully. The dough should be soft and moist but not too wet. Add a little more buttermilk if needed.
3. Dust a counter lightly with all-purpose flour and set the dough on it. With floured hands, form the dough into a mound, but don’t knead it; too much handling will make the bread tough. Flatten it into a round about 1½ inches thick. Place the dough on the parchment. Using a wet knife, make a deep cross in the top of the loaf (do not cut all the way through to the bottom, but cut to the edges).
4. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until the loaf is nicely browned, firm in the center, and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. It is better fully baked than underbaked. Transfer the loaf to a rack and cool for about 30 minutes. Serve with soft butter. Adapted from “A Taste of Ireland”