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Old 12-18-2007, 11:11 AM
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Default Irish Brown Bread

Does anyone have a recipe for Irish brown bread? I have tried a lot of Irish brown bread in the states and have not found anything as good as what you will get in Ireland. It is a very dense bread, no yeast.

I have a couple of recipes but was wondering if anyone on this list has made any, if so have you made it in a wood fired oven and what recipe do you use?

Thanks,

Loren
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Old 12-18-2007, 11:27 AM
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Default Re: Irish Brown Bread

Loren,

I've had the same experience in Ireland, and it has to do with the differences in ingredients there as opposed to North America. Irish steel cut oats is one prime example. As in Irishman, it behoves me to find a good recipe, and I'll pass it along once I find it.

Jim
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Old 12-18-2007, 11:37 AM
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Default Re: Irish Brown Bread

Loren,

Did a check through my books here, as well as my own formulas, then the web. The recipes are all pretty similar, in that this is not a yeast bread. It was traditional in my grandmother's family to make a white version and give it away on St. Patrick's Day--brings luck.

Anyway, here's a link to a recipe you might want to try Irish Mum's Brown Bread Recipe - 101 Cookbooks. The trick will be to find real whole wheat flour that hasn't had all the bran milled out of it. Stone ground, coarse, would be best. Irish flour of all sorts tends not to be as powder fine as ours, which is a good thing for hearth breads.

The baking time of 50 mins is excessive in a WFO with a hearth at about 450 F. I'd stick an instant heat probe in through the bottom of the loaf after about 25 mins. The interior temp should read about 200 F for a full bake.

Jim
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Old 12-18-2007, 02:42 PM
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Default Re: Irish Brown Bread

Hi Jim,

I believe that recipe is very close to the ones I have, I will compare notes tonight and will make a loaf next week. Some counties call it brown bread, others call it soda bread, just to confuse things a bit more there is soda bread that it sweet.

The good part is I brought back 5 pounds of the flour that they use in Ireland to bake the brown bread. It is MUCH coarser than what we have here and has a lot of bits of brown in it, like you said that is probably why the bread is so much better in Ireland.Thanks for the recipe!

I will have to cook it in our regular oven, on a pizza stone I guess would be best, however some day I will try it in the wood oven. I don’t think I will use any of the King Henry's flour, only the Irish flour. It seems to be a blend anyway.

I will be on an ongoing search for the flour although I doubt I will have much luck. There is a place that sells a lot of flour in South San Francisco that is mentioned in the Bread Builders book that may be my best bet, or perhaps a natural food store.

Loren
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Old 12-18-2007, 03:35 PM
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Default Re: Irish Brown Bread

How bout a black Russian bread?

My boss at work spoke highly of fresh Russian bread he ate while touring Russia in 1968 or 1969.

I would like to give it a try.

All the recipes I find have instant coffee in them... I don't imagine that instant coffee was used during that time period.

any suggestions?
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Old 12-18-2007, 09:28 PM
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Default Re: Irish Brown Bread

As a native Irishman (Northern) I shall do the best thing. I'll ask my mum!

Most families have their own version but as you rightly point out the flour must be the key.

Kind of a parallel with pizza and Caputo............

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Old 12-19-2007, 02:08 AM
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Default Re: Irish Brown Bread

Inishta,

Me? Strabane, County Tyrone, previous generation. Ingredients do indeed make all the difference. There's North American buttermilk, then there's Irish buttermilk, guaranteed to clog those arteries right smartly. Then there's high fat Irish butter, different flours, different water, and on it goes. Don't remind me, please, of the bacon I had at a B&B on Carlingford Loch, or the salmon, the lamb. Italy it ain't, but they've got their own specialties. Must be that green, green grass, or maybe it's the black stuff, Guinness.

Jim
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Old 12-20-2007, 10:02 AM
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Default Re: Irish Brown Bread

Inishta,
My Wife is from the West, County Mayo. I have a few recipes from folks there but would also like to look at your Mum's recipe. Nothing like home cooking...
Jim,
You brought back some good memories of the food in Ireland. Nothing like that great Irish breakfast that could keep you going for most of the day. Bread, Irish bacon, eggs, sausage, black and white pudding, and I always liked the fried tomato. Ireland is rich in sea food and exports a lot of it. Finally things are changing and there are quite a few sea food restaurants now. There is also a lot of green grass for the sheep and cattle. Ireland seems to be very organic without trying very hard.

Looking forward to making the bread soon with the "real" flour. I wonder if the bread would come out better if I substitute Guinness for the water, wouldn't want to waste the Guinness though… Ha ha ha.
I am thinking of making one with the buttermilk and butter and another loaf without either. Some folks do not use buttermilk or butter in the brown bread and it is very tasty. I'll let you know how it comes out.

Loren

PS. Is that Russian black bread Rye?
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Old 01-01-2008, 12:01 PM
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Default Re: Irish Brown Bread

I baked a loaf of brown bread last week and it came out good. Here is a pic and the ingredients.

3 cups Irish flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 3/4 cups of butter milk
1 ounce of butter

I preheated the oven to 500 degrees
Lowered the heat to 450 and baked the bread for 15 minutes
Lowered the heat to 400 and baked it for another 25 minutes
(this was from Irish Traditional Cooking by Darina Allen)

Next time I will try 400 for 50 minutes.

The internal temp was 202 degrees, it came out nice and crisp on the bottom but a little dry inside. The mix seemed a bit wet so I may not use as much butter milk next time.
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Old 01-02-2008, 06:48 AM
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Default Re: Irish Brown Bread

Loren,

One of the tricks to successful hearth type breads, no matter what rising agent is used, is to keep the dough or mixture on the wet side. Strange as it may seem, your next try might include one loaf with less butter and another with more. You might be surprised by the results.

Jim
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