Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Crunchy bread (Irish brown bread)

When we were in Ireland we bought Irish brown bread. Jimmy and Mauren LOVED it. So I set out to make my own Irish Brown bread. They called it "Crunchy Bread".

Most recipes I found want you to use Irish wholemeal flour which I learned, is coarser than Canadian flour. I did track this flour down and it is apparently sold at the Scottish and Irish store here in Ottawa. I haven't gotten any yet since I still have Canadian Whole Wheat flour that I need to use up.

I also had to go through a whole conversion process with the recipes since the Irish weigh their ingredients, Canadians measure their ingredients.

Two weeks ago I made a loaf, but never took pictures of it. I did document the recipe though (see below).

Today I made another recipe that I found, and made a few changes, recipe also below.

The first recipe kneads the bread, the second recipe does not knead the bread.

Then I remembered I had actually taken a picture of the label and its ingredients. I now notice that there is no sugar and no fat in the real Irish brown bread. My recipe today had a bit of both. There are a lot of variations on the Internet of course.

Irish brown bread (first recipe)

2 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 cup large oats
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon fine salt
2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted

Heat the oven to 400°F

Grease loaf pan.

Place both flours, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl combine. Add buttermilk and melted butter and mix with your hands until almost all of the flour is moistened and the dough holds together, about 1 minute.

Lightly flour a clean work surface and turn out the dough. Knead until it forms a fairly smooth ball with no visible pockets of flour, about 1 minute. Place in the prepared pan, using a sharp knife, slice an “X” across the top, edge to edge and about 1/2 inch deep.

You are supposed to bake until the internal temperature registers 190°F to 200°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 35 to 40 minutes. My bread never got to that temperature. It only got to 177°F, and it was still a bit dry. I cooked mine for about 50 minutes. Maybe 45 minutes would be better?

Let cool on a wire rack and cool completely before slicing, about 2 hours.

Irish brown bread (second recipe)

2 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup large oats
1 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon fine salt
14 oz well-shaken buttermilk
1 egg
2 tablespoons butter
2 tbsp molasses

Heat the oven to 400°F

Grease loaf pan.

Place both flours, baking soda, oats, and salt in a large bowl combine. Cut butter up into mixture until like breadcrumbs.

Mix buttermilk, egg and molasses together into a measuring cup. Add wet to dry ingredients and stir until just blended.

Place in the prepared pan, using a sharp knife, slice a line across the top, edge to edge and about 1/2 inch deep.

Agian you are supposed to bake until the internal temperature registers 190°F to 200°F on an instant-read thermometer and about 35 to 40 minutes. Again my recipe never got to that temperature and I only got it to 172°F on this loaf. When I tested with a tooth pick it was done.

Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely before slicing, about 2 hours. I cooked it for about 55 minutes. Again, I should cook a bit less, maybe 50 minutes.

I will forget about the internal temperature test as it doesn't seem to work, or else my thermometer is stupid. Next time I will just depend on the tooth pick method and insert it until it comes out clean.

People who post recipes on the internet always have all these beautiful multiple shots of their recipes. I just plunk my goods on my stove or counter top and take a picture. I don't know, but I think it makes them look more real? I just may never win the most beautiful staged recipe picture though. How sad.

And yes it is good.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Rhubarb coffee cake with rolled oats crumble topping

Made this in Ireland with raisins and apples. Today I made it again, but with rhubarb. I made a double recipe. Here is the recipe below as a single recipe with my changes.

Mix in large bowl
1/3 cup melted margarine
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs (did put them in this time)
1 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Mix in medium bowl
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups peeled, chopped rhubarb

Crumble Topping
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons melted margarine

Add dry ingredients to wet and fold in. Sprinkle crumble topping on top of batter.

Took about 38 minutes this time without the convection oven. Use a toothpick to test when done.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Brownies - Irish adaptation

I made these when we were in Ireland. The flour I had was self-raising. Self raising flour has baking powder and salt added to it. So I didn't add the baking powder and salt to the recipe.

Such different flours in Ireland. Whole wheat flours are also different. Some recipes call for coarse ground whole meal flour as they call it. You can't get the coarse ground in Canada.

I had difficulty getting the right temperature, and figuring out when the recipe was done. Never mind that the temperature was registered in Celsius. 350 f is about 176 c, good grief.

The oven we had was a convection oven, and didn't seem to have a bottom element. I had a hard time understanding the different settings on the dial. Deciphering the little pictures was fun. And the Google didn't help. I should have taken pics of the dials but didn't think to.

The brownies seemed to be a bit softer inside than I would normally want. But they turned out great especially since there was so much fiddling to do to make them.


1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar (I think I used 1 cup of sugar)
2 large eggs (The stores don't seem to refrigerate the eggs in Ireland. Weird)
1 tsp. vanilla (I didn't use as I didn't have any)
1 tsp. instant  coffee, dissolved in 1 tsp. water
1 cup all-purpose flour (I used self raising as that was what I had)
1/2 cup cocoa
1/4 tsp. baking powder (I didn't use)
1/4 tsp. salt (I didn't use)


Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, mix together butter and sugar until well combined. Add eggs, vanilla and coffee and stir until well blended and smooth.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Add to the egg mixture and stir by hand just until combined.

Spoon the batter into an 8X8 greased aluminum pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until puffed but still soft to the touch. Do not over bake Cool in the pan on a wire rack.

Makes 16 brownies.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Mom's bran muffins

My mother used to make these muffins when we were young. They were the best.

I still make them all the time, and every time I do they seem to be a bit different.

The recipe below makes about 24 muffins (actually I made 23, and probably could have made 22 as they weren't that big). You could halve the recipe if you only want 12 muffins.

Today when I made them, I wanted to use up some crumbs from some finished bran flakes, and from some mini wheat cereals. Otherwise the crumbs would just go into the garbage. Who wants to eat cereal crumbs with milk? It would just get mushy and mushy makes me want to gag.

So I just poured the crumbs into a measuring cup and I had 1 3/4 cups of the crumbs. I substituted those crumbs for the equivalent amount of bran in the recipe. Mom would be proud. She never wasted anything.

Mix together in medium bowl
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups high-fibre bran cereal
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups raisins (Or not if your name is Johanna or Jennifer. Maybe substitute walnuts?)

Mix together in large bowl
1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 cup molasses
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (I usually just sour milk with vinegar but today I actually had buttermilk)

Fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients just until mixed.

Spoon into 24 paper lined muffin pans.

Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes until toothpick inserted comes out clean.