One of my favorite loaves of Brown Bread came from a restaurant in Dublin called Restaurant FortyOne. It was a chewy, yeasted brown bread with a deep, wheaty flavor. Those slices disappeared from the bread basket before any of the other types of bread and rolls did.
And this may sound like bragging, but I even enjoyed a slice of brown bread from the hands of Darina Allen. It's true. Our group was in a rush to get on the road after our mindblowing tour of Ballymaloe, and Darina and Rachel filled a bag with goodies from the kitchen to fill our rumbling bellies so that we wouldn't starve on the road. Slightly surreal, entirely satisfying.
Malt House Restaurant inside the Jameson Whiskey Distillery in Midleton (Cork). I wish beyond wishes that I had snapped a photo of the bread. I'm loath to admit that I was pretty shaky when we arrived at the distillery, due to a nasty bout of motion sickness. I won't go beyond saying it was embarrassing and miserable and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. The cool, morning air did me a world of good. I could not fathom the thought of heading into the restaurant with everybody else with my head and stomach pounding and twisting the way they were. I marveled at the Magpies, and beckoned an Irish cat (which promptly and entirely ignored me, just as a stubborn American cat would). I walked and snapped a few shots of the quaint houses and flowers that lined the stone walls.
Eventually I made my way to the picnic tables that sat just outside the restaurant doors. Although food still wasn't a high priority, someone brought me out a couple slices of brown bread. Brown bread that changed my life. It was heavy and moist, and it was studded with nutty grains. If I remember correctly, I even spotted a hint of yellow cornmeal. And the flavor? It was unique all in itself.
My Brown Bread (inspired by Malt House Restaurant)
A hearty brown bread studded wtih oats, cornmeal, wheat germ, millet, quinoa flakes, and flax seed.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 60-70 minutes
Keywords: bake bread low-sodium nut-free soy-free vegetarian Irish
Ingredients (1 loaf)
- 8 ounces whole wheat flour
- 4.5 ounces steel-cut oats
- 2 ounces yellow cornmeal + more for dusting pan
- 1.5 ounce quinoa flakes
- 1.25 ounce all-purpose flour
- 1 ounce wheat germ + more for dusting pan
- 1 ounce millet
- 1-1/2 tablespoons brown flax seeds
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- big pinch of sea salt
- 2 cups (1 pint) buttermilk, or more as needed
- palmful of wheat germ
- palmful of sesame seeds
Preheat oven to 450° F. Grease a loaf pan and dust it with a smattering of cornmeal and wheat germ, turning and tapping to lightly coat.
Whisk together all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Pour the buttermilk over them, and work it in using a wooden spoon. It will be a thick batter, but make sure that everything is moistened. If you have trouble working in any of the dry ingredients, add a dribble of buttermilk at a time until everything is just incorporated.
Turn batter out into prepared pan. Dip a butter knife in flour, and us it to score the top, once lengthwise, and once crosswise (making a cross to let the fairies out). Scatter the top with wheat germ and sesame seeds.
Slide into preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to 250° F, and continue to bake for 50-60 minutes longer. Loaf should be lightly golden and cooked through.
Let it cool in the pan for a few minutes, until you're able to handle it easily, then carefully turn the loaf out and allow it to cool completely on a wire rack.
Serve as part of a bread basket with your meal, it's great slathered with a bit of salted butter. It's also good toasted and served with butter and honey. It is a dense bread, so a slice or two (depending on thickly you've sliced it) will do ya!