Tuesday, September 14

Irish Brown Bread

Brown Bread

Is it wrong that I've just returned from a week in one of the most beautiful places on earth and all I want to talk about is the amazing brown bread we ate there? Typical, isn't it!

Soda bread is an Irish tradition. It uses baking soda as the leavening agent instead of yeast. Traditional Irish Soda Bread is made only from flour, baking soda, salt and buttermilk; that's it. The flour used is soft flour, meaning it is more refined than regular flour, it also has a lower gluten content. Pastry or cake flour is typically soft.

We were served a range of brown bread in Ireland. Some was lighter with a fine texture while others were very dark with seeds on the crust. Some were baked in loaf pans and others were round loaves. It was all delicious. After our first few days in Ireland I bought a loaf at a bakery and declared that my meals for the rest of the week were taken care of. Well, after I purchased some salty, Irish butter, of course. And had a perfectly poured Guinness to wash it all down with. That's a meal, no?

Since we've returned I've made 2 loaves of brown bread already! Because there isn't any scary yeast involved, brown bread is a snap to make. My first two attempts were good, but not quite right. I started with this recipe and for the second loaf added more salt and a tablespoon of sugar. Better, but not right.

Next, I'm going to try a different variety of flour. I purchased a complet (whole wheat) bread flour that is a Belgian product. I'm going to try a whole wheat flour that is not bread flour and see what that does. The ridiculous thing is that once I figure out how to make great brown bread here in Lux, I'll have to do it all over again in Seattle. Again, with the baking ingredients. Who'd a thought they'd be so different? The top picture is a loaf I brought back from Ireland. A tasty souvenir! Have you had brown bread? Do you have a great recipe that you're dying to share? Please comment!


km said...

I'm not sure of the difference with Brown Bread and other Irish Soda Bread, but a friend shared his family's recipe with me this past St. Patty's Day. http://km-kitchen.blogspot.com/2010/04/grahams-irish-soda-bread.html
I LOVE cardamon so this was a perfect recipe for me.

This Girl loves to Talk said...

yes butter! butter in australia is salty. When I was in the states I hated the butter! I couldnt believe everything could be so different!

I have several expat friends (USA, canada, South Africa etc) and we all complain that our recipes from their countries dont work quite right here.. lol lol..

I LURVE bread and butter... your top picture looks DEVINE!!!

jojoebi said...

is brown bread not popular in the states? Growing up mom always bought a loaf of brown and a loaf of white sometimes we would have mixed sandwiches, she would use white on one side and brown on the other!

It's not popular in Japan and getting your hands on a decent brown load in next to impossible. I make bread at home, in the bread machine and use 1/3 wholemeal flour and 2/3 white flour, we found the 100% wholemeal to be too heavy for our liking and we don't have a choice of flours to try out!

Emily said...

Yum! I haven't met a bread I didn't like! Making banana bread tonight.
There is this super yummy apple bread at Great Harvest I love....mmm...maybe I"ll pick some up this weekend!
I'm making tropical (aka Banana) bread tonight.
Wish I could share a hunk of bread with you soon.

Theresa said...

Looks so yummy. I love all kinds of bread.

Theresa said...

Corner view is every Wednesday (I post Tues cuz of the time change and where I live is so different from the Europeans). Jane usually hosts. She will say what the topic is on her blog, although she is on a break so I am hosting for now. So next week's topic is "humor." Just keep in touch with me, and look at a few people's blogs, like Francesca, she is a regular, until you get it. :) Hope that answers your questions.

Jennifer said...

Sorry, don't have any recipes to contribute but I did want to tell you that the kids ate your bread last night for dessert: toasted with salted butter and strawberry jam. It was delicious!

Jessica said...

My Husband's Irish Mammy makes the best brown bread. I've watched her make it several times but have never been able to duplicate it. Darling Husband even had me video tape her one year. I swear its about the (local)ingredients. The market she shops at has a vast selection of baking flour which is strange since the town is so small.

katy said...

km - Thank you very much for the link. I'm intrigued by the baking powder in your recipe.

This Girl - Wait a minute! Most butter in the US is salted. You can easily find unsalted, but the standard is salty. I'm not sure what you were served while you were there, but our butter is good! I swear!

jojo - In the U.S. whole wheat bread is common, but it is made with yeast. Brown Soda Bread is not at all. What kind of bread is popular in Japan?

Emily - Do like banana bread, especially warm from the oven with butter.

Theresa - Thanks! That does help. I'll try and get my act together and post on Wednesday.

Jennifer - Glad they liked it! I'll have more for you next week.

Jessica - I totally agree with you about the local ingredients. Strangely enough, they really do vary from place to place. Guess we'll just have to go to Ireland :)

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