Irish Brown Bread? Really? Isn’t this supposed to be a WW-friendly blog? Well, yes, it is. Bread can be a wholesome, healthy part of a balanced meal plan especially if you keep to whole grains. Whole grain bread contains more vitamins, nutrients, and fiber than bread made with “degerminated” wheat. This whole-grain bread is a quick bread, not a yeast bread. It only takes 10 minutes to mix it up and get it into the oven. You can have a fresh loaf of warm bread ready in less than one hour!
What is a Quick Bread?
This bread is a quick bread. A quick bread made with a leavening agent such as baking powder or baking soda, or both instead of yeast that allows for immediate baking. No proofing or rising is required and the bread can go immediately into the oven. Other examples of quick bread include biscuits, muffins, and this Golden Fruit and Nut Cake.
When everyone fell in love with making sourdough bread last year during the pandemic, I veered off into the other pandemic project: fermentation. I’ve actually been making sourdough on and off for years. I like making bread, but frankly, “the juice isn’t always worth the squeeze.”
On a day-to-day basis, I use Dave’s Killer Bread for morning toast and sandwiches. Multi-hour or multi-day bread projects don’t currently work with my present work and life situation. (Fermentation on the other hand just kinda sits on the shelf until it’s funky enough to eat.)
Brown Bread vs Soda Bread
This project started because I had a lot of buttermilk to use, not St. Patrick’s Day – but what a happy coincidence. Irish Brown Bread is a little less well-known than Irish Soda Bread. While both are quick breads, Irish Brown Bread has a hearty texture, dense crumb, and craggy, crunchy crust. Made with whole wheat flour, it fits the bill when it comes to healthy and wholesome. (Irish Soda Bread is typically made with white all-purpose flour and while it certainly is good, it’s not quite as good for you as the whole grain bread.)
Whole Wheat Flour
We hear all the time about how “whole grains are good for you.” Why is that? Whole grain wheat has the nutritious germ and bran intact. All-purpose flour is more refined and has had the bran and germ removed. The germ is the part of the wheat berry that sprouts to grow into a new plant and is the healthiest part of the wheat berry. The bran is the hard outer layer of the wheat kernel, which is packed with various nutrients and fiber.
Irish Flour is whole grain or whole wheat flour coarsely ground from red whole wheat. It’s a bit more coarse than regular whole wheat flour. Most recipes sub out 1 cup of the Irish-style whole wheat flour for all-purpose flour for Irish Brown Bread. However, I wanted a bread that could be made fairly quickly – without any special ingredients so I decided to give it a try with “regular” American whole wheat flour. I love it! The whole wheat makes it seem more like a yeast bread. This recipe produces a loaf that is crispy and toothsome with a nutty, tender crumb.
I certainly hope you enjoy this bread as much as I have. It comes in at roughly 2 WW blue points a slice! Now, that Irish butter on the other hand…
I am THRILLED to share with you my new E-book, Fresh Start: Cooking with Virginia My Real Life Daily Guide to Healthy Eating and Weight Loss. (It’s also available in paperback as a print on demand.) It’s my real-life guide of 20 go-to dishes that take can you through the day with easy recipes and “non-recipes” for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.
I have been absolutely floored by the response to my 60+ pound weight loss and so many of the questions have been about my regular “everyday” eating — not recipes in a book or on this blog, but questions about what I eat for lunch and snacking. Well, here it is! I hope you like it. And, it’s Volume One — so my plan is to do one of these every season if y’all like it.
Bon Appétit, Y’all
Irish Brown Bread
- 4 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 ¾ cup buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil like sunflower
- Heat the oven to 400°F. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Add buttermilk and oil. Stir to combine. Turn out onto a clean work surface and knead a few times until it holds together. Shape into a ball and place in a skillet or on a baking sheet. Slice a deep cross into the loaf. Bake until brown and an instant read digital thermometer reads 200°-205°F. Remove the loaf to a rack to cool slightly, at least 10 minutes before slicing. When ready to serve slice into pieces with a serrated knife. Store in a sealable airtight container for up to 4 days.
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