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The Brown Bread of Ireland

The Sour Milk is the Key.
I made soda bread for years, but avoided making brown bread; I assumed it would turn out like a large whole-wheat biscuit, an item I have no fondness for.

However, brown bread was served in every pub in Doolin with pots of tea, and on the breakfast buffet at the B&B I stayed in. I realized that the bread was not baked fresh every day and still tasted good. I looked up a recipe as soon as I got home. My loaf also keeps a good taste for several days, heel to heel.

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Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C).

Combine in a mixing bowl:

Cut into the flour mixture until mixture forms fine crumbs: Add and stir: Time to add the liquid. Gently fold into flour mixture: You want a dough that binds together without being sticky. If necessary, add milk as needed, a teaspoon at a time.

Knead GENTLY into a ball.

The traditional way to shape a loaf is to make it into a round a cut a deep X on top (to make sure the dense bread cooks all the way through.

I cheat. In order to insure complete baking, I make three or four balls of dough and set them in a cake pan lined with parchment paper. Alteratively, I place the balls into a well-greased bundt pan.

Bake until brown, about 40 minutes.

Remove from oven. Let it sit a couple of minutes to stablize the shape: then remove to a cooling rack.
Maura Enright, Proprietor
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