I have 50% Irish blood running through my body, so this time of year I start feeling all sorts of cultural pride. I had a lot of Irish experiences growing up, with a step dancing sister, a bag piping brother (sorta Scottish, I know), and a father obsessed with tracing his Irish ancestry. We got to take a couple trips to Ireland when I was younger, and I have such fond memories of exploring the Irish countryside with my family. I know all six of us have a fond spot for anything Irish.
Last weekend I was visiting my sister in Colorado, and she pulled a loaf of this bread out for breakfast one morning. She must have been reading my mind, because I'd seen this recipe from Bon Appetit on the flight to Denver, and I was planning to make soda bread as soon as I got back to Chicago. Her version was so good, however, that I ended up looking it up online. This recipe for Brown Soda Bread is from Cooking light, and it was dense, healthy, and just subtly sweet. It is amazing for toast in the morning, with just a little butter melted on top. I imagine it's also excellent for sandwiches, especially with smoked salmon. The best part? It's QUICK, and so easy! Just toss the ingredients together, then go study abstract algebra for an hour while it cooks. Or I guess you could watch TV, or do something a little more fun!
This is a page from the scrapbook I made in high school. Thankfully I didn't save any dorky pictures of myself from this trip to Ireland in 1999. I'm sure my parents have plenty, but there is no way they're getting on this blog!
Next weekend my mom and other sister will be in town for a concert (Flogging Molly! Another important part of any Irish American youth's experience!), and I am sure I'll make this again. Now I just need to think of a vegetarian meal to make for St. Patrick's day... any suggestions? (Also, did I mention we gave up meat & seafood for lent? That's why there have been so many vegetarian recipes lately. We're doing ok, but the other day I was totally craving a chicken burger, thanks to Annie!)
Have a great weekend everyone!
Brown Soda Bread
from Cooking Light, March 2010
* Cooking spray
* 11.25 ounces whole-wheat flour (about 2 1/2 cups)
* 2.25 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1/2 cup)
* 1/2 cup steel-cut oats (such as McCann's)*
* 2 tablespoons brown sugar
* 1 tablespoon wheat germ*
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 2 cups low-fat buttermilk
* 1 large egg, lightly beaten
1. Preheat oven to 325°.
2. Coat a 9 x 5–inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Line the pan with parchment paper, and coat with cooking spray.
3. Weigh or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flours and next 6 ingredients (through salt). Combine buttermilk and egg; add to flour mixture. Stir just until combined.
4. Spoon the mixture into prepared pan. Bake at 325° for 1 hour and 5 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Invert bread onto a wire rack; cool completely. Remove parchment; slice bread into 12 slices.
* I got my steel cut oats and wheat germ at Whole Foods, but I bet you could find them at a decent sized regular grocery store. I'd check the cereal aisle for both, or the bulk foods section. And pay attention to how much you need, because I have about 2 cups of extra steel cut oats! Guess I'll be searching for another recipe soon... or making this bread a lot more!