St. Patrick's Day Wholemeal Irish Bread

| 3/10/2011 10:50:39 AM

Tags: bread baking, holidays, recipes, baking, Ireland, Ontario, Canada, Sue Van Slooten,

Wholemeal Irish BreadTop 'o the Morning to You! This bread is a great way to start off your St. Patrick's Day celebrations for all actual and aspiring Irish folk.

This bread hearkens back to a time when Irish soda bread was a more rustic, country affair, not all gussied up with mostly white flour. Traditionally, the Irish didn't have a lot of white flour, and the loaves were a bit coarser and darker, but also healthier. Let's not wax eloquent over those Medieval white bread loaves whose noble persons so eagerly sought out.  I wonder if they knew that ground chalk was sometimes put in their flour to make it appear whiter.

We're talking about a somewhat large, delicious, nutty-tasting loaf made with wholemeal flour and, yes, a little bit of white flour to lighten up the texture. You can certainly do all wholemeal if you wish.

I like to embellish my loaf with raisins and either caraway, anise, or even fennel seeds for a unique taste, and to really gild the lily, some homemade or good-quality strawberry jam and butter.

This would be very appetizing for either breakfast — in which case it's best made the day before — or afternoon tea. You can see in this photo how the bread should look, and do make sure it is a deep golden brown to ensure that it has baked through.

Wholemeal Irish Bread Recipe

4/6/2011 8:46:15 AM

I made this bread (minus the seeds) and it was delicious - heavy and moist, just as we like it. I think I scored the top too deeply, however, as the loaf broke apart along my score lines. I baked it in a greased quiche pan, which had the added bonus of a rim to hold the crumbs. Next time I will try increasing the amount of raisins to 1 cup.

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