I am writing this post during a rare moment of complete calm. I’m sitting at my dining room table, watching a loaf of Irish brown bread baking in the oven. Riley has just gone down for his nap and the dog is laying in a sunny spot in the backyard, soaking in the warmth. Between the smell of the bread and the quiet peace throughout the house, I am completely content. The only thing that will make this scenario even better is taking the bread out of the oven and helping myself to a warm slice slathered with soft, sweet butter and raspberry jam.
Quiet moments like these are far and few between. In the midst of chasing after a toddler, a puppy, housework, and blogging, don't have the time or energy for complicated recipes with laundry lists of ingredients. Instead, I find myself looking for recipes that are quick and simple without being boring. This Irish brown bread recipe is perfect for afternoons when I really want to bake but don't have the time or patience to wait for rising. The ingredients are humble and few. In fact, you may have most of the ingredients in your pantry already. And the best part? The dough comes together in as little as 5 minutes. I can make this bread even when Riley is awake and playing at my feet with mixing bowls and wooden spoons. And an added bonus? This bread is super healthy!
Occasionally, I miss the days when I actually had control over...well...anything. But thoughts like that are quickly forgotten when my Cheerio-loving little boy smiles and I realize over and over again that this life I have today is better because of the unpredictable moments and messes.
And when it comes right down to it, simple food made for my sweet little boy equals infinite joy.
I recommend experimenting with this basic recipe once you have it mastered. Add oats, seeds sprinkled on top, or perhaps even some dried cranberries or raisins. Before you go out looking for what to add to make this recipe your own, check your pantry. I’m always surprised at what I can come up with without making a trip to the store. Truth be told, I’m one of those people that always has something hidden in the back of the cabinet that goes unnoticed until I really search. Still, if you stick with the original recipe with no added frills, you will still be in love with the nutty flavor, crunchy crust, and soft center of this bread.
*Time Saver Tip: If you’ve got the time, make two loaves. Allow both to cool completely, then wrap one loaf of bread tightly in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag. Remove and let thaw for about an hour before you need to use the bread. I do this often, even with store bought bread, so that I have something fast and easy to serve with soups, appetizers, or just to have something warm and comforting to pass around the table when we are entertaining.
Irish Brown Bread
from the cookbook What Katie Ate
- 4 oz all-purpose flour
- 11 oz whole wheat flour
- 3 teaspoons wheat germ
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 13 oz buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Sift together the flours, salt, baking soda and wheat germ. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the buttermilk. Stir gently until the dough forms. It will be quite sticky.
Transfer the dough to a well-floured surface and turn once or twice. Form a disk about 6 or 7 inches in diameter. Using a knife that has been dipped in flour, carefully slice a cross in the top of the dough that is about 1/2 inch deep. Transfer the dough to a parchment lined baking sheet. Place on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 40 minutes or until the dough is golden brown and the bread makes a hollow sound when you knock on it. (I actually found that this only took about 25-30 minutes each time I made the bread, so keep a close eye on it while it's in the oven.)