I’ve had a recipe on my desk since last June. Sometimes, it made sad puppy dog eyes at me, asking if there was any chance it would ever be chosen. Other times it sulked and went into hiding under tall mounds of nonsense. Occasionally it would get sassy and assertive and flit from the top of one pile to the next, taunting me with its presence.
The recipe is for Irish Brown Soda bread, and I begged and nagged for it shortly after a trip to Ireland and a Kerrygold event at which famed Irish chef Neven Maguire served his version with Dubliner cheese.But his recipe was made with special Irish flour that is not readily available in the US, so I didn’t even try to re-create it. Instead, I badgered my source for all-things-Irish, the vice president of Kerrygold USA, Roisin Hennerty.
So, with apologies to Roisin in advance for any way in which my adaptation does her version a disservice, I have finally freed her recipe from the confines of my desk and brought it to life in my kitchen.Thank you, Dear Recipe, for your patience.
Irish Brown Soda Bread
adapted from Roisin Hennerty
4 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
4 cups stone ground whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
1/4 cup bran
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon very soft salted butter
4 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons oats
1. Preheat the oven to 450F. Butter two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans and set aside.
2. In a large, wide bowl, combine the white and wheat flours, salt, baking soda, wheat germ and bran. Mix thoroughly.
3. In a separate smaller bowl, Combine the egg, molasses, softened butter, and buttermilk. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the liquid ingredients in. Using your hand like a claw, mix the liquid and dry ingredients with your fingers, working the dough just enough to ensure it is evenly combined. The dough will be wet and sticky. (Roisin refers to this as the texture of sticky porridge). Place half the dough in each prepared loaf pan, patting it to even out the top. Sprinkle with the oats. And, says Roisin, “Never — ever– forget to prick the corners of the loaves and let the fairies out. We Irish do believe in fairies. Respect.”
4. Place in the center of the oven and bake 15 minutes; reduce the oven temperature to 400F, rotate the pans and bake another 15 minutes, until the loaves sound hollow when tapped. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 30 minutes before slicing.
Serve slathered with salted Irish butter.
Makes 2 loaves