Anyone can make Irish bread


By Clare de Boer, The New York TimesThe first time I had brown bread from Ballymaloe Cookery School in Cork, Ireland, was at a welcome lunch for students.
The menu was simple: Loaves of the bread accompanied poached Poole prawns from Ballycotton Bay, a 15-minute walk from the farm where the school sits.
Myrtle Allen died in 2018, but the Ballymaloe kitchens continue to turn out 20 loaves of this bread each day, as it has for the past 40 years.
“Unlike an Irish soda bread, which is all about the handling, this one has no tricks or secrets,” said JR Ryall, a pastry chef at Ballymaloe for two decades.
“I instead see that as a victory in getting people back in the kitchen and nourishing themselves.”The version here makes a perfect loaf of bread in less than two hours.
Ballymaloe now makes this loaf with wheat grown on the farm, and Allen accompanies it with homemade butter and Camembert.
You can begin the recipe when you wake up, and enjoy a warm loaf for breakfast a few hours later.
While most bread recipes advise you to wait until the loaf cools completely before slicing, this one is best still warm, with butter — Irish, preferably!
Meanwhile, grease a 5- by 8-inch loaf pan with the oil and line the bottom and long sides with parchment paper to create a sling for the bread.
Scrape the dough into the prepared loaf pan.

Written by The New York Times’ Clare de Boer.

It was during a welcome lunch for students that I first tried brown bread from Ballymaloe Cookery School in Cork, Ireland.

The dish consisted of loaves of bread and poached Poole prawns from Ballycotton Bay, which is a fifteen-minute walk from the school’s location on a farm. Co-founder of the school Darina Allen buzzed around the room telling us to spread thick slices of bread with butter or mayonnaise and then top with tiny prawns. All of it was heady with a quiet luxury, but the plain brown loaf felt especially special because it was nutty, barely sweet, and still warm.

“This recipe eliminates the mystery and time involved in making yeast bread,” stated Allen. “Life is bestowed upon it.”. She added some treacle syrup to warm water, combined the yeast, and allowed it to foam. She then stirred the mixture into whole-wheat flour, gave it a quick rise, and baked it.

A variation on the legendary Grant loaf, developed by nutritionist Doris Grant to maximize ration use during World War II, this loaf lacked the chew of sourdough and was neither dense nor sour; it was less fluffy than sandwich bread or cakey than soda bread.

Over time, the recipe was brought to Ireland and ended up in the hands of Myrtle Allen, Darina’s mother-in-law and the chef at Ballymaloe House, a restaurant and inn. The Ballymaloe kitchens have been producing 20 loaves of this bread every day for the past 40 years, even after Myrtle Allen passed away in 2018.

JR Ryall, a 20-year Ballymaloe pastry chef, said, “This one has no tricks or secrets, unlike an Irish soda bread, which is all about the handling.”. It’s an easy process that results in a delicious meal. “.

After taking the recipe home, visitors to Ballymaloe House and students at the cooking school have baked it all over the world. The West End, a cafe on Fishers Island, New York, owned by former student Lily Starbuck, sells it. She said, “I do not fear a drop in sales once people see how easy it can be.” She mentioned that she would be teaching a cooking class this summer, with Ballymaloe brown bread as the first course. Instead, I see that as a success in that it has encouraged people to cook again and take care of themselves. “.

In less than two hours, the version found here produces a perfectly baked loaf. It has broken down the barriers between bakers and nonbakers for decades with its remarkably low skill-to-outcome ratio.

Ballymaloe now uses farm-grown wheat to make this loaf, which Allen serves with Camembert and homemade butter.

Her response was, “I don’t need a Prada purse.”. This is true luxury in my opinion. “.

Brown bread is the recipe.

Recipe courtesy of Ballymaloe House in Ireland and Darina Allen.

Clare de Boer made the adaptation.

No prior baking, shaping, or kneading knowledge is necessary to make this easy whole-wheat loaf. When you wake up in the morning, you can start the recipe and a few hours later, have a warm loaf for breakfast. Before you mix the yeast into the flour, make sure it foams in the molasses-water mixture. If it doesn’t work, the yeast is probably dead; throw it out and put this recipe on hold for another time. If you enjoy bread with seeds, add some (sunflower, poppy, sesame, or a mix) to the dough and then sprinkle some over the loaf before allowing it to rise. If you choose to include them, there is no need for changes. Although most bread recipes suggest waiting for the loaf to cool completely before slicing it, this one tastes best when still warm, especially when paired with Irish butter!

One loaf is the yield.

One hour and forty minutes in total.


Four cups (450 grams) of whole-wheat flour, ideally ground to a stone.

One teaspoon of finely ground kosher salt or half a teaspoon of kosher salt (like Diamond Crystal).

One tablespoon of treacle or molasses.

Two and a half teaspoons of dry active yeast.

For greasing, use one tsp canola or other flavorless oil.

1 tablespoon of optional sesame or poppy seeds, or both.

Getting Ready.

1. Combine the salt and flour in a big bowl.

2. Combine 5 fluid ounces (150 milliliters) of warm water with the molasses in a small bowl or liquid measuring jug. Add the yeast, stir, and set the jug somewhere warm for five minutes, or until the mixture foams up creamy.

3. To create a sling for the bread, line the long sides and bottom of a 5-by-8-inch loaf pan with parchment paper after greasing it with oil.

4. Mix the flour with the activated yeast mixture. After scraping and agitating any leftover yeast, pour 10 fluid ounces (275 milliliters) of warm water into the jug. Into the flour, pour this.

5. Work the flour and liquid mixture into a dough with a spoon or your hands. It will be too moist to work with. Scrape the dough into the loaf pan that has been ready. You can optionally add sesame, poppy, or both seeds to the top.

6. Put the pan somewhere warm—ideally, next to the stove. Leave the dough to rise for 15 to 25 minutes, or until it reaches the top of the pan, covered tightly with a dishtowel so that it does not come into contact with the dough. Set an oven rack in the center and preheat to 450 degrees while the dough rises.

7. When the dough almost reaches the top of the pan, take off the dish towel and place the loaf on the oven’s middle rack.

8. After baking for twenty minutes, lower the oven’s temperature to 400 degrees. Or until the top appears nicely browned, bake for a further thirty minutes.

9. Take the pan out of the oven, tip the loaf out, and use oven mitts or a fresh dish towel to hold the hot loaf while you run a knife around its outside to loosen it. Return the loaf, upside down, to the oven and place it directly on the center rack after discarding the parchment paper and shaking off any loose seeds. The loaf should sound hollow when you tap its bottom after baking for a further ten minutes.

10. To enjoy the loaf warm, slice it after it has cooled for ten minutes on a rack. The loaf can be stored for up to three days at room temperature if it is well wrapped.

The New York Times published the original version of this article.

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