When I was a young girl, my family used to travel to Ireland every year for our summer holiday. My father worked for TWA (Trans World Airlines) and we had a great travel benefit that we regularly used. My mother was born and raised in County Clare and my father from County Kerry. Our wonderful trips into Milltown Malbay, Spanish Point or visiting Ballybunion always bring the fondest of memories.
Oh, the stories I could tell of the laughs we shared as a family. We would load our tiny rental car up with 8 kids, two adults, and lots of luggage. Relatives would meet us at Shannon Airport and take on a portion of our luggage as we headed toward Milltown.
One of my most vivid memories relates to my grandmother, my mother’s mom. She would get up early to milk the cows and feed the chickens. Then, she would come indoors and bake the most amazing bread. Now, this bread was like nothing I had ever tasted before. Sure, my mom and all the aunts baked their own version of Irish Soda Bread or scones but this was different. The bread was a hearty, textured loaf made with whole wheat flour. She would mix it up by hand, in a huge stoneware bowl (maybe a Green’s or Mason Cash Brand).
I have tried on several occasions to replicate the recipe and this is as close as I have come to the original. If any of you would like to share your recipe for your version of Irish Brown Bread, I would so appreciate it!
If you’re a fan of Irish Soda Bread, check out my family recipe for Mary’s Irish Scones here.
Just like Grandma’s Irish Brown Bread
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 tablespoons cold butter or margarine
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter until mixture forms fine crumbs. Stir in whole-wheat flour and oats. Add buttermilk; stir mixture gently. Turn dough onto a lightly floured board and knead 5-10 times to make a ball. Set on a baking sheet. Pat into a 7-inch circle. With a floured knife, cut a large X on top of loaf. Bake until well browned, about 30-35 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.