I'm Irish. And I love love LOVE potatoes.

Mashed, steamed, (french) fried, saladed, O'Brien'd, even Tater-Totted – potatoes are my BFF (best friend forever, for those of you without regular contact with teenage girls).

Cabbage - pretty good, especially quickly sautéed and served crisp. Or made into coleslaw.

Corned beef? Lukewarm (even when hot in a sandwich).

Irish brown bread?

Ewww...

Until now.

Don't get me wrong; I'm a huge fan of American-style Irish soda bread, with its sugar and butter and eggs and raisins and caraway.

But a classic Irish soda bread, made with brown (whole wheat) flour, baking soda, and buttermilk?

No thanks; I'll go for the bowl of Raisin Bran instead.

So it was with great reluctance that I accepted a recent assignment to blog one of our newest recipes, Irish Buttermilk Brown Bread.

"Aw, Mom, do I hafta?!"

Sigh.

First step:

Our Irish-style wholemeal flour, a whole wheat flour flecked with bran. Maybe I won't have to eat that Raisin Bran after all...

Once I got into it, this was a simple, extremely easy bread to make. And the result?

Tasty. I kid you not. A bit sweet, a tad buttery, moist, and perfect spread with sweet cream butter.

Want to try a 100% whole wheat loaf that the whole family will enjoy? Start here.

First, preheat your oven to 375°F. Grease a 1 1/2 to 2-quart baking dish, or an 8" or 9" cast-iron skillet or cake pan that's at least 1 1/2" deep.

Whisk together the following:

4 cups (454g) King Arthur Irish-Style Wholemeal Flour or King Arthur Premium Whole Wheat Flour
3 tablespoons (35g) sugar
1/2 cup (72g) buttermilk powder*
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder

In a separate bowl, whisk together the following:

1 1/2 cups (340g) water*
1 large egg
4 tablespoons (57g) melted butter or 1/4 cup (50g) vegetable oil

*Substitute 1 1/2 cups buttermilk in place of the water and buttermilk powder, if desired.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the liquids. Stir together until blended and no dry spots remain; the dough will be soft and sticky. In fact, it's probably more of a stiff batter than a soft dough.

Scoop the batter into the prepared pan, mounding it in the center.

Brush the top with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Wait 5 minutes for the liquid to be absorbed by the flour before baking.

Bake the bread for 35 to 45 minutes, or until it tests done.

A cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center will come out clean. Also, an instant-read thermometer will read just over 200°F in the center.

Angle the thermometer up until its tip is about 1/2" under the surface; this is the last part of the loaf to bake. You should get a reading of over 195°F.

Remove the bread from the oven, and set it on a rack to cool a bit. This picture-perfect loaf was already cool, in case you're wondering why it's not on a rack.

Serve warm, with butter and honey, or butter and jam, or just marmalade. Cinnamon-sugar is always welcome.

Read, bake, and review (please) our recipe for Irish Buttermilk Brown Bread.

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PJ Hamel
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About PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, three dogs, and really good food!

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