Hey! I’m still breathing, graduate school hasn’t completely sucked ALL of the life out of me yet… just most of it. Speaking of school and college- this bread! I first fell in love with it when I was a freshman at Iona. In college, I used to frequent Yonkers. It’s a part of New York that is known for it’s Irish community. Like legit, off to boat Irish community. Accents all around! Yaaassssss. You can find great Irish pubs, restaurants, butchers, and pubs and did I mention the pubs? So many fun times were had there and I even worked at one of the restaurants after being recruited because “my face was like the map of Ireland.”
They served it toasted and piled high in baskets and let’s just say I always sent my basket back for refills… more than once, maybeee twice, each time I went there. Brown bread is a crumbly, cakey, delicious vehicle for butter and jam and it MUST always be accompanied by tea or coffee. It’s made with whole wheat flour, regular flour and buttermilk. I can see how this became a staple for the Irish in both good times and bad.
My love affair with brown bread didn’t stop in Yonkers. In 2010 I took a trip to Ireland- going straight to the brown bread source. And wouldn’t you know- it was EVERYWHERE. It was served with every traditional irish breakfast and even with the american style breakfasts too. I was in heaven. This trip also confirmed that my favorite little Irish breakfast joint in New York was serving up the real deal Irish brown bread.
With Fall here- I was nostalgic for this but when I went to make it, I didn’t have buttermilk so I made my own. I was sure I was going to royally eff it up- but I didn’t! It’s super easy and I used this method here. You basically just mix together lemon juice and regular milk and let it sit for a bit and wahla! You’ve got buttermilk.
I found this recipe here and it turned out great.
- 2¼ cups whole-wheat flour
- 1¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- 2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick), melted
- a couple of pinches of oats, I use quick oats
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees
- Mix together both types of flour, baking soda and salt
- Add melted butter and the buttermilk
- Mix together with your hands for about one minute or until the dough holds together
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly flour surface and knead it until a smooth ball forms with no visible pockets, about 1 minute
- Work it into a flat round disk and place it on a prepared pan
- Cut an X in the top from edge to edge, about ½ inch deep
- Sprinkle the oats on top, just to make her look purdy
- Bake for about 35 mins or until it sounds hallow when you tap it
- COOL COMPLETELY before cutting it- unless you're looking for a crumbly mess