Time to Bake Irish Brown Bread
Marisa Guerin, PhD - March 10, 2021
The Feast of St. Patrick, March 17, is just around the corner. I am one-quarter Irish -- my father's father was the son of an Irish immigrant -- so I am accustomed to this annual bash celebrating all things green, musical, sentimental, and humorous. But even those who are only Irish-by-acquaintance might appreciate some of the gifts the Irish have given the world, one of which is excellent oat bread.
This week, my blog post features my favorite Irish oat bread recipe: Jan O'Halloran's Brown Bread, which I first came across in the Washington Post three years ago. If you have been reading my blogs that long, you may remember that I included a link to that recipe then, as part of a reflection on the alchemy of time.
No alchemy today, just a great recipe if you are still doing covid-era baking. It's a dense, moist loaf, easy to make, and perfect as morning toast with butter, or jam, or cream cheese, or peanut butter.
Since it has no flour, I assume it is also gluten-free, although I am not an expert on that. And with apologies to my non-US readers, the recipe is given in our odd U.S. measurements.
If you feel inspired to give it a try, do make sure to purchase the right ingredients, they are important. And while you are at it, if you have two loaf pans, make two loaves-- it takes the same amount of time, but the goodness lasts twice as long.
Feeling gratitude for all things oaten, brown, humble, and good!
Jan O'Halloran's Brown Bread
Cal: 270, Total Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 30mg, Sodium: 520mg, Total Carbs: 44g, Dietary Fiber: 6g, Sugars: 5g, Protein: 11g
Parchment paper for lining the bread pan; can be buttered or greased, but doesn't have to be.
2 cups Plain Regular yogurt, NOT Greek yogurt. Can be whole milk or lo-fat
2 teaspoons Baking Soda
2 Tablespoons Flaxseed Meal (ground flaxseed)
1 Large Egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt (and if you like, a couple good shakes of pepper! Adds a bit of interest.)
1 pound Quick-Cooking or Instant Oats, NOT regular rolled oats, nor individual packets of instant
1/4 cup milk, can be whole milk or lo-fat
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 8x4 inch loaf pan with greased parchment paper
Combine yogurt and baking soda in large mixing bowl. Stir gently, small bubbles should begin to form and mixture should fizz a bit. Then, add the flaxseed meal, beaten egg, and salt (and pepper, if using), folding very gently from the edges toward the center to keep the bubbles going.
Fold in half the oats, stir carefully, then the rest of the oats, and then finally the milk. Stir to form a sticky, dense dough. Transfer by big spoonfuls to the parchment line loaf pan and smooth out the top and sides, make the dough as even as possible.
Use the tip of a sharp knife to make a shallow slit lengthwise down the center, beginning and ending about an inch from the edges of the loaf pan. Bake in middle rack for 1 hour until loaf is deep golden brown.
Carefully remove loaf from pan and discard parchment paper. Put a sheet of aluminum foil on the oven rack and place the bread on it, upside down. Continue to bake for another 10 minutes, until all sides are a rich, uniform shade of brown.
Transfer bread to a cooling rack right side up. It may seem moist, but will firm up as it cools. Let it cool completely before succumbing to the temptation to cut off a piece! The bread freezes well, either as a whole loaf, or as a sliced loaf that can be taken out a couple slices at a time.