Whether you are on a budget, want to eat healthier, or just trying to round out a meal, a good loaf of bread can really save the day. Homemade and whole wheat? Even better! The problem is that bread usually takes a long time to make, even if it is simple and more of a waiting game than hard work. Your average loaf takes around four hours to mix, rise, bake and cool. This can be quite inconvenient if you are busy or in a hurry (or just plum forgot about dinner, which is usually my case!). That's when this hearty whole wheat soda bread comes to the rescue. It's thrown together in a flash, with no kneading or rising.
Toasted and slathered with butter, this bread is amazing with a bowl of chicken noodle soup. It both stretches the meal out further and helps make it even more filling. And really, is there anything more satisfying than a steaming bowl of soup with homemade bread on a cold, wintery evening? If you're part of the I-forgot-about-dinner-and-it's-five-o'clock crowd, than serve it with a fried egg topped with shredded cheddar cheese and you've got yourself a hearty meal in under ten minutes. Even the humdrum peanut butter and jelly can take center-stage when made with this bread (served with a big glass of cold milk, of course). No matter how you slice it (pun intended), a homemade loaf of whole wheat bread is a cook's secret weapon.
Irish Brown Bread
Adapted from Gourmet, March 2004
Makes 1 loaf
What You Need:
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
- ½ cup wheat germ, toasted
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut up
- 2 cups buttermilk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan or 9x2-inch round cake pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, wheat germ, salt, sugar, and baking soda. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or your fingers until it resembles coarse crumbs.
Add the buttermilk to the bowl and stir to combine. Using a firm spatula or a wooden spoon, fold the dough over onto itself in the bowl many times. This is how I 'knead' the dough. It should take just a minute or two for it to start coming away cleanly from the side of the bowl.
Press the dough into your prepared pan. Bake 30-40 minutes for the round, 1 hour for a loaf.
Remove from oven and cool in pan for 10 minutes, then take the loaf out and transfer to a cooling rack. The bread will cut easier if you let it cool until warm, but it can also be eaten right away.
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