Neven Maguire – Traditional Irish Brown Bread & Scones
Makes 3 x 900 ml (1 1/2 pint) loaves
Rapeseed or Sunflower oil, for greasing
450 g (1 lb) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
450 g (1 lb) coarse wholemeal flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
100 g (4 oz) wheat bran
50 g (2 oz) butter
1 tablespoon golden syrup
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
600 ml (1 pint) buttermilk, plus a little extra if necessary
butter for spreading, to serve
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 5 and lightly oil three 900 ml (1 1/2 pint) loaf tins. Sift the flours, baking soda and salt into a bowl. Tip in the bran left in the sieve and stir in with the wheat bran. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until evenly dispersed.
Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the golden syrup, brown sugar and buttermilk. Using a large spoon, mix gently and quickly until you have achieved a nice dropping consistency. Add a little bit more buttermilk if necessary until the dough binds together without being sloppy.
Divide the dough into three equal pieces, place in the prepared loaf tins. Bake for 25 minutes and then check that the loaves are not browning too much. If they are reduce the temperature or move the loaves down in the oven, then bake for a further 20 minutes until cooked through and each one has a slightly cracked top.
To check the loaves are properly cooked, tip each one out of the tin and tap the base. It should sound hollow. If it doesn’t return it to the oven for another 5 minutes. Tip out on to a wire rack and leave to cool completely. To serve, place the brown wheaten bread on a bread board and cut into slices at the table. Hand around with a separate pot of butter for spreading.
On a lightly floured surface, lightly roll out the dough to a 2 cm (3/4 inch) thickness and cut into rounds with a 6 cm (2 1/2 inch) plain cutter. Bake at 220C/425F/Gas 7 for 10-15 minutes until golden brown and well risen.
WHITE SODA BREAD
Replace the wholemeal flour and wheat bran and use all plain flour.
LIGHT BROWN SODA BREAD
Use about three-quarters plain flour to one-quarter coarse wholemeal and add 25 g (1 oz) of pinhead oatmeal before adding the buttermilk.