Guest Author - Mary Ellen Sweeney
Odlum's Irish Brown Bread Mix makes a splendid, authentic Irish Brown Bread when you "Just Add Water". It is a staple of Irish households for the healthful "brown bread" enjoyed in virtually every home in Ireland. (It'd be a poor home, indeed, that failed to offer its children this economical, healthful food.) It takes moments to prepare, an hour to bake, and the time it takes to cool enough to cut…is an eternity to anyone who has ever tasted it.
But there's more. The Odlum's Coarse Wholemeal Flour can, when time and energy allow, be used to construct breads that are truly amazing. This kind of bread is not the enemy!
Bread often gets a bad rap. Most of the time, this is for a good reason, as white flour is so refined that it should really be eaten only in the smallest amounts. All the good is gone from the wheat when it is made into white flour. Spackle.
Wholemeal bread is not what I would call refined at all; it is pure peasant. To make wholemeal flour, Odlum's takes the whole wheat grain and grinds it. Nothing is put in and nothing is taken out. Whole grain. It is very high in bran and dietary fiber. All Odlums Wholemeals are stoneground through traditional milling stones to give them a coarser texture and a more distinctive taste. The wholemeal flours are ideal for making bread, fruit cakes, pastry, and biscuits.
Once you automate the process of baking in your mind---you've seen the great Julia do it, a pinch of this; a bit of that---it is as relaxing as a good massage. Our sprawling Irish family of thirteen grew up on homemade breads because our mother loved to bake, and my father was so proud of her bread.
Here is a simple recipe for some of the most delicious Irish brown bread you will every taste!
Irish Wholemeal Health Loaf
Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Measure out the dry ingredients and sift together in a large bowl. This can be done by hand. No sifter required.
2 cups Odlum's Wholemeal Flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour
1/2 cup bran or flaxseed or flaxseed meal (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 cup brown sugar
In a medium bowl or large measuring cup, mix
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 to 1.5 cups of buttermilk or milk
Make a well in the center of the flour into which you slowly pour the liquids. Stir as you add liquids. Add more milk if the dough is too dry. It should be slightly stiff. Turn out on a floured board and knead lightly to form a ball.
Use a rectangular bread pan for a loaf or a baking sheet for a round loaf. Cut a slice down the center of the rectangular loaf or a cross in the round loaf. This deep cut in the bread dough ensures thorough cooking.
Bake for one hour until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Wrap in a clean tea towel for a soft crust. Cool before slicing.
Serve in thin slices with butter, jam, cheeses, or savories. This bread is excellent for sandwiches and toasted.
Odlum's Coarse Wholemeal Flour