Saturday, March 18, 2006

Irish Brown Bread


I have made my first "loaf" bread that has turned out. I'm am tickled! I've made bread a few times and it's usually not that great. My foccacia is usually pretty good, but that's about it.

But this...this was awesome!

In line with the my St. Patty's day dinner, I attempted Irish Brown Bread....and it worked!!!

The recipe I went with was from the recent, March 2006 Saveur magazine. The recipe was for two loafs, I adjusted it for one is my adjusted version.

Doris Grant's Brown Bread

Makes one 5x 8 1/2 loaf

This is based on Myrtle Allen's version of a simple no-knead, one-rise bread developed at the request of the British government during World War II by English cookbook writer Doris Grant. After Allen started serving it at Ballymaloe, it become popular all over Ireland.

"Ballymaloe" is the magic word in Irish food today--the name of both Ireland's most influential
restaurant and its finest cooking school. Ballymaloe, the guesthouse/restaurant was operated by Myrtle Allen.

1/2 TB Butter
1 7-gram packet active dry yeast
1 TB molasses (the recipe calls for black treacle, but...this is what I could find)
5 cups stone-ground whole wheat flour (sifted, but don't throw out the wheat bits...just no lumps)
3/4 TB fine sea salt

Preheat oven to 200. Grease a 5 x 8 1/2 loaf pan with butter and set aside in a warm place. (But not hot, don't want that butter to melt).

Place the flour and salt in an oven safe bowl and combine. Place the bowl in the oven and let rest until the flour mixture is warmed through, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile,put yeast into a small glass bowl, add the molasses and 1/2 cup of lukewarm water, and stir to dissolve. Set aside and let rest until yeast bubbles and becomes frothy, about 10 minutes.

Remove bowl from oven, add the yeast mixture and 1 3/4 cups lukewarm water, and mix together with your hands until well combined and a sticky dough forms.

Increase the heat in the oven to 400. Place the dough in the prepared loaf pan, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and let rise in a warm spot until the dough has grown by 1/3, 15-20 minutes. Bake on the middle rack of the oven until the loaf is browned on top, about 45 minutes. Loosely cover with foil, then continue to bake for 25-30 minutes more.

Let the bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then gently run a table knife around the inside edges of pans to loosen. Turn loaves out onto a rack and let rest until completely cool, 2-3 hours.

Brown Bread is all over Ireland and soo delicious. It's very hearty and wheaty. Wrap what you have left in foil and place in a ziptop bag....the next day is it awesome toasted with some butter.

PS::::Blogger is only part way to won't let me load photos....those will be forthcoming!


Stef said...

I see you've caught Brunette's Saveur bug! This sounds so tasty. Someone brought soda bread into work on Friday but I didn't get any of it. :-(

Dancer in DC said...

This bread is heavy, but if you slice it thin and toast it, you'll adore it. It reminded me how good the Irish got at taking meager ingredients to make a hearty filling meal. Between this bread, shepherd's pie and a Guinness, I felt full for days!

Brunette said...

For me brown bread was an acquired taste, but once I had really good bread, I couldn't remember life before it!

Brings back fond memories of my trip to Ireland with my aunt many years ago. For our dinners we splurged a little, but breakfasts and lunches were simple, and I think she subsisted for the entire two weeks entirely on brown bread and Irish coffee!

And doesn't Myrtle Allen sound cool? She almost single-handedly popularized old-fashioned, farm-fresh Irish food.

ScottE. said...

I think the first Brown Bread I had was so heavy on the molasses, that I didn't enjoy it. But by the end of our week in Ireland, we had found the bread to be perfect, with less of the molasses.

This bread, you can certainly smell it when the bread is baking and while cooling on the counter, but it's not the first thing you taste. It's awesome.

I loved reading about Myrtle. I actually have the Ballymaloe cookbook. I picked it up at an used bookstore. And the original recipe is in takes about 9000 hours of this recipe is perfect! 20 minutes and into the oven!