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Brown Bread Bonanza

April 21, 2020

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Keep calm, carry on and bake!

 

By Margaret M. Johnson

Work from home. Shelter in place. Self-quarantine. Social distance. The new normal appears to be upon us, whether we like it or not. As much as I would prefer to be out and about, I do find solace in my kitchen, and this new confinement has given me the time to bake some brown soda bread recipes that I generally make only a few times a year. Some are tried and true recipes that I’ve been using for years and might have already shared with Echo readers; others are just new and delicious. For anyone who knows Irish food, brown soda bread literally goes with everything from breakfast and brunch to lunch and dinner, so having a loaf or two on hand now can be a welcome addition to your food supply. All the recipes are easy enough for home-schoolers to try, too, so give the kids a bowl, a measuring cup, and spoon and give it a go. When all else fails, remember these words of wisdom: “keep calm, carry on” and bake!

FLAHAVAN’S PORRIDGE AND YOGURT BREAD

MAKES 1 LOAF

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Flahavan’s has been milling oats in a mill on the banks of the River Mahon in Kilmacthomas, Co. Waterford, for 200 years. This recipe uses plain yogurt (not Greek) instead of buttermilk, which creates an extremely moist loaf.

2 cups natural yogurt

1 large egg, beaten

1 tablespoon treacle

1 1/2 cups Flahavan’s porridge oats

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons mixed seeds, such as sesame, sunflower, and pumpkin 

Softened butter, for serving

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch loaf pan or line with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, combine yogurt, egg, and treacle. In a separate bowl, combine oats, soda, mixed seeds and salt. Stir oats mixture into yogurt mixture.

3. Transfer to prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F and bake for 30 minutes longer, or until a skewer inserted into center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely before cutting into slices.

 

 

MRS. TEA’S SEED BREAD

MAKES 1 LOAF

At Ashford Castle in County Mayo, smoked salmon sandwi

ches arrive for teatime on this nutty, aromatic, crusty brownbread, a recipe from Mrs. Beatrice Tollman, founder of the Red Carnation Hotel Collection, a five-star luxury group that includes Ashford. The bread is also delicious toasted and spread with butter and jam for breakfast. You’ll find this recipe in my new Teatime in Ireland cookbook.

1 1/3 cups whole meal flour 

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup muesli

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup raisins

1/2 cup flax seeds

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

2 1/4 cups plain yogurt

1/3 cup sunflower oil

1/4 cup honey

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a 9-inch loaf pan and dust with flour; tap out excess.

2. In large bowl, combine whole meal flour, all-purpose flour, muesli, baking soda, salt, raisins, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds and walnuts; stir to blend.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together yogurt, oil and honey. Stir yogurt mixture into flour mixture; mix well.

4. Transfer to prepared pan and bake for 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted into center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely before cutting into slices.

 

 

 

ODLUMS GUINNESS BROWN BREAD

MAKES 1 LOAF

Odlums is one of Ireland’s most popular baking brands. If you don’t live in a neighborhood where you have an Irish grocer, you can still make this authentic bread by ordering the coarse whole meal flour online at foodireland.com or amazon.com.

4 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon treacle, such as Lyle’s brand

14 ounces Guinness

4 cups Odlums coarse whole meal flour

1/4 cup pinhead oats

4 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 cup chopped walnuts

2 teaspoon baking soda

Softened butter, for serving

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a 9-inch loaf pan and dust with flour; tap out excess.

2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and treacle; stir in Guinness.

3. In a medium bowl, combine flour, oats, sugar and walnuts; sift in soda and mix well. Add Guinness mixture to flour mixture; mix well.

4.Transfer mixture to prepared pan and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into center comes out clean and bread sounds hollow when tapped underneath. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely before cutting into slices.

 

NEVEN MAGUIRE’S BROWN SODA BREAD

MAKES 1 LOAF

Neven Maguire’s MacNean House in Blacklion, County Cavan, is always on the list of Ireland’s “best” restaurants, accommodations and cookery schools. He’s sharing some of his favorite recipes for folks to try at home.
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1 teaspoon baking soda 

2 cups whole meal flour
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk, plus extra if needed
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon golden syrup, such as Lyle’s brand
1/4 cup porridge oats
1 heaping tablespoon sunflower seeds
1 heaping teaspoon pumpkin seeds
1 heaping teaspoon sesame seeds

Softened butter, for spreading

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a 9-inch loaf pan and dust with flour; tap out excess.

2. In a large bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour and baking soda; stir in whole meal flour, sugar and salt. Make a well in center; stir in buttermilk, butter, golden syrup and sunflower seeds. With a wooden spoon, mix gently and quickly until mixture has a nice dropping consistency (add a little more buttermilk if necessary until dough binds together without being sloppy).

3. Transfer mixture to prepared pan; sprinkle oats, pumpkin and sesame seeds on top. Bake for 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into center comes out clean and top is slightly cracked and crusty (check halfway through cooking time to make sure bread isn’t browning too much; if so, reduce temperature to 350°F). Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely before cutting into slices.

NEVEN’S BAKING TIP: To check that the loaf is properly cooked, tip it out of the pan and tap the base; it should sound hollow. If it doesn’t, return it to the oven for another 5 minutes). 

Margaret Johnson’s “Recipes” page now includes “Ireland Hopping: Adventures in Food, Drink, and Travel.” For further details on her work, inclu

 

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