Recently spending some time with my Irish-speakin’ almost daughter, Anne, I decided that she should make us some traditional Irish bread. So she decided to make a recipe that her dad, Kevin, shared with her when she moved to New York. It is so easy to make and so good for you. Ideally, the bread should hang around the kitchen for a day before cutting into it. I never let that happen – I’m cutting into it and slathering it with sweet butter as soon as it is cool enough to handle. The loaves make great toast and the muffins are a complete breakfast in a few bites.
Makes 3 loaves or 2 dozen muffins
4 cups plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 large egg, at room temperature
4 cups (21 ounces) all-purpose flour
3½ cups (1 pound) whole wheat flour
½ cup steel cut oatmeal
½ cup wheat bran
½ cup oat bran
½ cup wheat germ
3 heaping teaspoons baking soda
3 teaspoons sea salt
2 to 3 teaspoons Demerara sugar (or dark brown sugar, if you can’t find
Preheat the oven to 400ºF for loaves or 365ºF for muffins.
Using nonstick baking spray, lightly coat the pans. Set aside.
Combine the buttermilk with the egg in a small mixing bowl, whisking to blend completely. Set aside.
Combine the all-purpose and whole wheat flours with the oatmeal, wheat bran, oat bran, wheat germ, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl, stirring to blend. Add the buttermilk mixture and, using a wooden spoon, stir to mix thoroughly.
Spoon the dough into the prepared pans, filling either the loaf pans or muffin tins no more than two-thirds full. Transfer to the preheated oven and back the loaves for 10 minutes. Then, lower the heat to 365ºF and continue to bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. If baking muffins, transfer to the preheated oven and bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and tap the breads from the pans and place on a wire rack to cool. The muffin tins can be placed directly on wire racks and the muffins left in the pans to cool.
Allow to rest for a day before eating.