Saturday Morning Bread Adventure, Part 1: Irish Brown Bread

Saturday Morning Bread Adventure, Part 1: Irish Brown Bread

Baking bread is something entirely new for me. I have baked dozens of cakes and cookies in my life, but until yesterday never tried baking a bread from scratch. One reason for this is that I grew up in southern Germany, where you find good bakeries in abundance. During the first twenty years of my life wherever I lived there was always a good bakery in less than five minutes walking distance. The bakeries had a great selection. If you can choose from a broad range of tasty, fresh-baked, non-expensive bread you don’t necessarily think of baking some yourself.

Since I have moved to the States it has become more difficult for me to buy good bread. A lot of the bread here has a sweetness I don’t particularly like and while I was living in New Jersey I rarely enjoyed eating bread. However, when we moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, we were lucky to move to a neighborhood that does not only have beautiful parks and trails, which are ideal for walking your dog, but also a couple of good bakeries! Unfortunately they have a very small selection of bread though and after a while it gets a little boring. Therefore I have been looking for good bread recipes. I am hoping to find a few that I like, so that on Saturday mornings I can bake our own bread. The perfect recipe has to involve not too much preparation time and ingredients that are fairly easy to get. I will share with you those recipes that I try and hopefully there will be some that become regular staples!

The first recipe I have chosen is Irish and was published in an issue of the journal ‘Food & Wine’ (http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/a-donegal-son-returns).

Irish Brown Bread

Ingredients:

3 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 large egg

1.) Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Butter an 8-by-5-inch metal loaf pan.

2.) In a large bowl, whisk both flours with the baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, whisk the
buttermilk with the egg; stir into the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon until a rough dough
forms.

3.) Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth.
Form the dough into a loaf and put it in the prepared pan.

4.) Bake for about 50 minutes, until the bread has risen about 1/2 inch above the rim of the pan. Once unmolded, the loaf should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Let cool to warm or room temperature, then slice and serve.

Conclusion:

+ easy to make
+ fast
+ few ingredients
+ nice, but not amazing taste
– this bread really depends on the quality of the flour, with supermarket flour it is just an ‘okay bread’, but not a great bread
– too dense

Well, this was the first try! Next Saturday there’ll be a new bread and a new recipe!

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