Irish bread

December 5, 2009

Recently I found on a blog a  recipe for the traditional Irish brown bread. My mouth started watering as I remembered how delicious it tasted. Its  texture was very special, both rough and soft. When I lived in Dublin I mostly bought brown bread. I ate it either at breakfast with home made marmelade or local honey; I liked it at lunch too  with cheese, cold meats, salads or smoked salmon. Always so tasty. And healthy ! As I read the recipe, I was reminded of the many happy moments  on Fridays  after work.  I would meet friends for an hour or two in a particular pub of Ballsbridge in Dublin.

The working week was over, everyone was planning something different for the weekend, we felt like having a break and  enjoying a simple and tasty meal. Usually we would order brown bread sandwiches, ham, cheese or salmon. Some drank tea but most of us chose a glass/pint of Guinness. The famous and great Irish Stout. Was it the perspective of being free for two days or the pleasure of sharing this Friday evening meal with friends that made this simple dinner taste so good ? Probably both.

In any case, when I read  this recipe about  the Irish brown bread I decided to bake one myself. I tried to get all the similar ingredients and started travelling back in time. Below you see the two loaves of brown bread I baked with approximatively 800gr of flour (I had to convert the measures).

Here is the recipe :

12 ozs unbleached flour

1 lb stone ground wholemeal

3 ozs bran

pinch of salt

2 teaspoons of bread soda

1 teaspoon of baking powder

about 4 1/2 dl of water

1 nob of butter

Don’t they look good ? Their smell was delicious, I tell you ! I could hardly wait to cut one of the breads and taste it ! And I when I did, I was happily surprised to find again its somewhat rough texture although my “Irish bread” was definitely  different. Of course. The flour was not the same, neither was the water used to mix the various ingredients, nor the “nob of butter”. Even the kind of heat in my oven must have been different. But the bread still tasted good and I thank the friendly baker near Tralee  and The Sand Papers  – –  who shared his recipe.

Enjoying the sun on a Sunday morning somewhere in Dublin.