With yesterday being St. Patrick’s Day, I cooked the traditional meal of corned beef, cabbage, potatoes and carrots. and along with it I made this recipe for Irish Brown Bread. Neither Mr. D. nor I have a drop of Irish blood in us, yet we love this meal and I always make it for St. Paddy’s Day. This bread is not the usual soda bread that is frequently served with this meal, but more closely resembles the soda breads made in Ireland back in the day when such things as caraway seeds and raisins were too costly for ordinary folks to afford.
My recipe comes from a gentleman named Brian O’Rourke who is the owner of O’Rourke’s Diner in Middletown, Ct. This old-time diner is a fixture on Main St and has been there for years. It has been featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. It is only open for breakfast and lunch, and on weekends there is always a line of people out onto the sidewalk and up the street waiting to get in. When you are finally seated it is hard to chose your order because everything Brian cooks is so scrumptious. He is a very generous man when approached by any group or organization for fund raisers; and so when the diner was severely damaged by a fire a few years ago the people of Middletown held fund raisers for Brian to help him rebuild the business. When one of the local churches was putting together a cookbook of local, favorite recipes this is the one that Brian contributed.
O’ROURKE’S IRISH BROWN BREAD
YIELD: Makes 2 small round loaves
- 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 3/4 cup white flour
- 1/3 cup bran or wheat germ
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 Tablespoon salt. ( I usually use about half this amount.)
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 4 Tablespoons ( half stick ) butter
- 1 3/4 cup buttermilk
1. In a large bowl combine flours, bran, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder and mix well with a whisk.
2. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Stir in buttermilk and mix until dry ingredients are moistened. Do not over mix.
3. Shape dough into two round loaves and cut a cross in the top of each one. This allows for expansion. Place on a greased or paper-lined baking sheet.
Bake at 375*F for 40 minutes.
This bread is best served warm with lots of sweet butter to slather on it.
I like that it makes two loaves, one that I freeze for later, and one that we eat right away. This time as I made them I added raisins to the dough for one of the breads, just for some variety. Either way they are delicious with a tender crumb almost like a muffin.
SOURCE: Brian O’Rourke, O’Rourke’s Diner