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Simple Irish Brown Bread | Alexandra Stafford

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Made with whole wheat flour, wheat germ, and rolled oats, this simple Irish brown bread comes together in no time and yields a hearty, super tasty loaf, perfect for toasting and slathering with butter and jam.

Last fall, one of you — Michael, from Ireland — emailed me asking if I had ever come across a bread recipe that “includes porridge oats or what you might call oatflakes?” He noted: “It has been a traditional way of making bread here in Ireland.”
Attached to the email were several recipes for “brown bread” as well as a simplified version of one Michael said his teenage son bakes regularly. He also included some notes:
“As you know Irish soda bread usually has a much thicker dough and can be formed before going in the oven. This is quite a wet dough and you might need to adjust the amount of buttermilk depending on the absorbency of the flour. We use a locally-grown grain, Purple Wheat Flour, originally from Ethiopia for the wholemeal flour.”
All of this intrigued me, not only because I liked the idea of a simple, healthy bread recipe one of my children might be able to throw together, but also because I have received several emails over the years from people asking if I have a recipe for “brown bread,” to which I never know how to answer.
If you google “brown bread,” search results pull recipes ranging from black-hued breads baked in cans to light-hued brioche-like loaves baked in pullman pans.
I loved the sound of the various brown bread recipes Michael had sent along, all of which included a good amount of whole wheat flour, oats, buttermilk, and a small amount of sweetener, either brown sugar or maple syrup.
In the end, I made a combination of several of the recipes, using 100% stone-milled Cairnspring Mills flour, rolled oats, and wheat germ. I hadn’t made a quick bread in ages, and I had forgotten about their virtues: how the batter can be mixed together before the oven preheats, the aroma — like a savory pancake — as it bakes, and the hearty product these recipes create, perfect for slicing, toasting and slathering with good Irish butter.
For the past few weeks, we’ve had a steady supply of this Irish brown bread on hand, and my children have been loving it. My oldest two have requested it with their eggs every morning, and my younger two have packed buttered slices for their school snack.
Michael concluded his email by saying, “I do recommend this recipe as another take on Irish soda bread.” Friends, so do I, and I know you will, too.
A Note on Whole Wheat Flour
As noted above, in this recipe, rather than using commercial whole wheat flour, I’m using stone-milled flour from ​Cairnspring Mills​.
You can read more about the ​benefit of using stone-milled flour in this post​, but the most compelling reason is that stone-milling preserves more of the bran and the germ, which is where many of the nutrients, antioxidants, oils, and flavors are stored. Industrial mills remove this germ in order to create a shelf-stable product.
Irish Brown Bread, Step by Step
Gather your ingredients: As noted above, I’m using a mix of Cairnspring Mills flour, but you can use any stone-milled or whole-wheat flour you like.

Measure them out, if you wish. For best results, use a scale to measure.

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl:

And whisk them together:

Whisk together the wet ingredients:

Then add them to the dry:

Stir until you have a very sticky dough/batter:

Transfer it to a buttered 8.5×4.4-inch loaf pan:

Sprinkle with oats:

Then transfer to the oven:

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes:

Let cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing:

While I wouldn’t use this bread for sandwiches, I couldn’t recommend it more for toast:

Break out the Kerrygold!



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Recipe from reader Michael — thank you! As noted above, this is a hearty quick bread that makes excellent toast. 
For best results, use a scale to measure.
Flour: I’m using 100% Cairnspring Mills stone-milled flour here. For the bread flour portion of the recipe, I used their Glacier Peak Bread Flour, and for the whole wheat flour, I used their Sequoia All-Purpose Flour. Just know that you can really use any mix of whole wheat and all-purpose or bread flour here — it’s a dense, hearty bread so many flours will work. You need 2.75 cups flour total. 
Salt: If you are using Morton Kosher Salt or fine sea salt, use half as much by volume or the same amount by weight. 

180 grams (about 1.5 cups) bread flour, see notes above
165 grams (about 1.25 cups) whole wheat flour, see notes above
50 grams (about 1/2 cup) rolled oats, plus more for sprinkling
44 grams (about 1/2 cup) wheat germ
10 grams (about 2 teaspoons) brown sugar
10 grams (about 2 teaspoons) Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt, see notes above
5 grams (about 1 teaspoon) baking soda
1 egg
450 grams (about 1.75 cups) buttermilk
28 grams (2 tablespoons) melted butter

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Butter an 8.5×4.5 inch loaf pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, and melted butter.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and use a spatula to mix until you have a wet, sticky batter. Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan. Using a wet hand, spread the batter out evenly in the pan. Sprinkle oats over the top to cover.
Transfer to the oven for 45 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out cleanly. If you have an instant-read thermometer, it should register roughly 205ºF when it’s done. Do be sure to test the loaf before removing it from the oven — once I removed it without testing, and upon cutting it, I found a pocket of un-cooked dough in the center. Err on the side of over-baking — it’s forgiving! 

Prep Time: 10 minutesCook Time: 50 minutesCategory: BreadMethod: ovenCuisine: American, Irish

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