Bread: The Staff of Life

Ballymaloe Brown Bread

This recipe was taken from David Bovitz…who got the recipe from the Ballymaloe House Cookery School.

 

Makes one 9 inch loaf of Irish brown bread….when in Ireland, the first question they ask when they come to take your order is “Would you like some brown bread and butter?”

The proper response is “Yes, please…”

 

Notes:

  1. Purchase the King Arthur Whole Wheat. I have used several different brands of whole wheat while testing this recipe and King Arthur turns out the best product.   Unless you live somewhere that you can purchase Irish Whole Wheat flour like Odlums or if you want to order it on line.
  2. I use active dry yeast. If you like to work with fresh, God bless you.
  3. To any bread recipe, I add Vital Wheat Gluten. (not necessary if you are using white bread flour.) I TB per cup of flour. You can find this sometimes on the grocery shelf with the flour. If not, order it from Amazon.
  4. Warm water is to always be warm…for the flour and the yeast when you proof it. Not cold and not hot… this kills the yeast.
  5. If you have a scale, use it to measure your flour. I have made bread for decades not using a scale. Now that I have one, I use it. Does it make a difference? …shrugs…
  6. When working with whole wheat flour…be prepared to add more water to the dough. The hard winter wheat of this flour absorbs the water.

 

Recipe:

400 grams (3 ½ cups whole-wheat flour)

50 grams (1/2 cup white flour, all purpose or bread flour)

1 tsp salt (salt keeps the yeast from getting wild and unruly and trying to take over the world.)

1 TB molasses

30 grams fresh yeast (1 ounce) For the rest of us…2 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast.

 

  1. Mix the flours and salt in a bowl.
  2. Pour 2/3 cup of warm water into a bowl. Add the molasses and then yeast. Stir together. Let stand for about 10 minutes. If it does not foam…your yeast is dead. If your water temp is right…you have a batch of old yeast.
  3. Pour the yeast mixture and an additional 1 and ¼ cups of warm water into the flour. Stir until a batter is formed. I use the bread hook on my Kitchen-Aid. Before this piece of marvelous machinery came into my life, you just flour lightly the work-space and dump your wet…very wet mixture there. This is like a wet Ciabata bread dough. You don’t want to work excess flour into it, but this stuff sticks…so grease your hands. When kneaded, this should remind you of the consistency of oatmeal. If it does not, add a little more water to it.
  4. Let this rest for ten minutes.
  5. Spray your loaf pan. Then, line it with wax paper and spray with oil as well.
  6. Dump in your wet dough and with wet hands, or a spatula, pat it into place. (Please note: at this point and I cut the dough into two pieces, thus requiring two loaf pans and making much smaller loaves. Which is what I desire for a crowd. Or just for home use as well.)
  7. Cover with a cloth and set in a warm place to rise. Check it every twenty minutes. When it gets about 1/3 bigger and is nicely peeking over the pan.
  8. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Put pan in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven, dump it out, pull off the wax paper. If the bread sticks, run a knife along the sides of the pan to loosen it.
  10. Reduce heat to 400 put it top-side down on the oven rack. Bake for 15 more minutes. Remove from heat, place on wire rack to cool.
  11. Wa-la! Brown bread. Serve with Irish butter.

 

Popovers
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
2 eggs
½ tsp salt
6 greased muffin cups
Put in a bowl and mix flour and salt. Whisk or blend eggs and milk. Add wet to dry and stir until everything is moist. Do not panic over the lumps. Pour into the well greased muffin tin or well greased custard cups. Only half full. Place in a 450 degrees oven and set the timer for fifteen minutes. Reduce heat to 350 for another 12-20 or until golden brown. No Peeking! When the timer sounds, take from oven, unmold, serve immediately. Your guests will love you!
There are those who say to puncture to let the steam escape, not to puncture. If serving immediately, I just bring them straight out to the table. If you are reheating, be the heroine in the B slasher movies, poke with a sharp object, and reheat and serve the next day. If you have small ones, you may wish to use a fork or a knife and stick it in the side. For big folks, I just figure they should know better.

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