Ballymaloe Irish Brown Bread


This is a recipe shared from David Lebovitz blog when he visited Ireland. We enjoy a lot of this type of lovely bread while in Ireland. This recipe is about as close as you can get to eating it there.

David Lebovitz - living the sweet life in Paris


Ballymaloe Brown Yeast Bread-2

Ballymaloe Brown Bread
You can get Irish-style flour from the mill in Ireland (linked in the post) or from King Arthur Flour. Should you live elsewhere, check out my tips for finding foods online where you are. If you don’t want to mail away for it, you might try replacing up to 4 tablespoons of the whole-wheat flour with wheat germ and see if you like the results. Otherwise, try to get good quality whole-wheat flour, preferably stone-ground. If you wish to use all whole-wheat flour, you can omit the white flour and use whole-wheat flour in its place. Tim told me they found they prefer it with just a little bit of white flour in the loaf. Because I wanted to replicate the bread at home just the way they do it there, I measured the ingredients by weight and used fresh yeast, which is sold in some grocery stores and often at natural foods markets. Molasses is widely available in the U.S., although they use treacle at Ballymaloe which is almost the same thing. (In France, it’s called Mélasse.) I didn’t try it with active dry yeast because I was so satisfied with the results using the fresh yeast but according to the Ballymaloe original recipe,” Dried yeast may be used instead of baker’s (fresh) yeast. Follow the same method but use only half the weight given for fresh yeast. Allow longer to rise. Fast active dry yeast may also be used, follow the instructions on the packet.” There are some additional notes from another baker at the end of this recipe.
400g (3 1/2 cups) whole-wheat flour, preferably stoneground
50g (1/2 cup) white flour, all-purpose or bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
150ml (generous 1/2 cup) plus 275ml (1 1/2 cups) tepid water – 425ml/scant 2 cups total
1 tablespoon dark molasses or 1 teaspoon treacle
30g fresh yeast (see headnote and note after the recipe, for instructions using active dry or instant yeast – I use 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast when not using fresh yeast)
1. Mix the flours with the salt in a medium bowl.
2. Pour 150ml ( 1/2 cup) of water into a small bowl and stir in the molasses, then crumble in the fresh yeast, stirring a couple of times. Let stand until it starts to foam on top, about 10 minutes.
3. Pour the yeast mixture and the remaining 275ml (1 1/2 cups) water into the flour and stir until a batter is formed, which will have the consistency of oatmeal. (If using standard whole-wheat flour, the dough will be sticky, and rather wet.) Let stand 10 minutes.
4. Spray a nonstick 9-inch (23cm) loaf pan with nonstick spray and cut a piece of parchment or wax paper to line the bottom of the pan. Scrape the dough into the prepared pan, smooth the top with a spatula or if it’s sticky, dampen your hand and use that then drape a kitchen towel over the top (so it’s not pressing down on the dough, but just lightly over the top) and let rise in a warm place until the dough reaches the top of the pan, about 20 minutes – although it can vary so just keep an eye on it.
5. Before the dough has almost reached the top of the pan, preheat the oven to 450ºF (230ºC). When the dough has reached the top of the pan, bake the bread for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, decrease the heat to 400ºF (200ºC). Run a knife around the outside of the bread to release it from the pan, tip the loaf out of the pan, remove the parchment paper, and place the loaf upside down directly on the baking rack and let bake another 15 minutes, or until done. The bread is ready when you tap the bottom and it sounds hollow. If using an instant-read thermometer, the temperature should read 190ºF (88ºC). Let the bread cool on a wire rack before slicing.
The bread is best eaten fresh, smeared with lots of good butter, or toasted for breakfast, with jam and butter. It’s also nice for open-faced sandwiches, and would be a fine accompaniment to a cheese board, too.

Storage: The bread will keep for 3 or 4 days; I wrap it in a linen kitchen towel. You can freeze the bread for up to two months. Leftovers? Make Brown Bread Ice Cream!

Notes: Although I haven’t done it, if you want to make the dough ahead and put it in the pan, up through the point where you put it in the pan in step 4, you could likely refrigerate it, then take it out later and let it come to room temperature and rise, before baking it. Here are some notes from Mary Jo McMillin of Mary Jo’s Kitchen, who published her version of the recipe in her book, Mary Jo’s Cuisine, which she shared in our discussions: Mary Jo recommends King Arthur Whole Wheat flour, made from hard winter wheat – also available on Amazon. (On the King Arthur website, it doesn’t specify if it’s winter wheat or not. But they have great customer service if you want to call them.) For an Irish flour, she recommends Odlums, which she buys from an Irish shop near where she lives. When using regular whole-wheat flour, she adds an additional 4 to 6 fluid ounces more water, if necessary; noting the dough should have the consistency of muffin batter. (I didn’t find that the case, but if the dough is very stiff, you can add more water.) She concurs that it’s essential to use a nonstick loaf pan and while she oils hers, she also says you can use butter or shortening. (With a little disclaimer that she’s not a fan of shortening.) Like they do at Ballymaloe, she sometimes sprinkles the top of the loaf with toasted sesame seeds before the final rise in the loaf pan, and subsequent baking, which you can do as well.



I love being Irish!:



Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s