Brown Irish Soda Bread
If you are looking to incorporate more whole grains into your diet, this bread will fill the bill. And if you've been looking for an excuse to try the "white" whole wheat flour, this is an excellent recipe for that purpose. While not as fluffy as the regular Irish Soda Bread, this is a tasty, satisfying loaf.
Sift the flours, salt, baking soda and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the butter, and rub into the flour (your best tools for this job are your thumbs and forefingers) until the butter lumps have disappeared.
Add 1-1/2 cups of the buttermilk and the honey to the dry ingredients, stirring to incorporate. Add only as much as you need of the remaining half-cup of buttermilk, a little at a time, and mix just until dry ingredients are moistened and dough holds together. Turn out onto a floured surface, and knead for a few minutes. The dough will be soft and a little sticky.
Form the dough into a ball and place in the buttered Dutch oven or on a baking sheet. With a sharp, floured knife, cut a deep cross into the top of the loaf. Dust top of loaf lightly with flour. If using a Dutch oven, put the cover on, but remove it during last 15 minutes of baking.
Bake at 375°F for 45 minutes or until loaf is golden brown. Makes one large loaf approximately 7 inches in diameter.
Note: If you have trouble finding stone ground whole wheat flour, you can buy it online here.
Most recipes for Irish Soda Bread recite that the bread is done when a sharp rap with the knuckles on the bottom of the loaf produces a hollow sound. Maybe I'm too far removed from The Olde Country, but the golden brown color and a trustworthy oven let me know when my bread is done.
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