I discovered the recipe for this unusual bread many years ago in Belfast. The secret ingredient is barley malt, thick syrup that gives the bread a moist texture and delicious flavour.
Makes 1 loaf
– 1 cup/115 g fine whole wheat flour, plus additional for sprinkling
– 1 cup/115 g coarse whole wheat flour or 1 cup/115 g each quick-cooking Irish oatmeal and wheat bran
– 1/4 cup/60 g sugar
– 1/2 tsp. baking soda
– 1/2 tsp. salt
– 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
– 1 tbsp. barley malt extract (see Note)
– 3/4 cups/175 ml buttermilk
– 3/4 cup Guinness stout
– Softened butter for serving
1. Preheat the oven to 375° F/190° C. Grease a 7-in./17.5cm loaf pan and sprinkle with whole wheat flour, tap out excess.
2. In a large mixing bowl combine the flours, oatmeal or oat bran, sugar, baking soda and salt. 3. With a pastry blender or your fingers, cut or work in the butter to the consistency of coarse meal.
4. Make a well in the centre, add the barley malt, buttermilk, and stout and mix with a wooden spoon to a porridge consistency. Do not overbeat.
5. Transfer to the prepared pan. Sprinkle additional flour on top and bake for 30 minutes.
6. Reduce the temperature to 325° F/170° C and bake for 30 minutes longer, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
7. Turn the oven off and let the bread cool with the door open for 30 minutes.
8. Remove the bread from the pan and let cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.
Note: Malt extract, also called barley malt, is available in health foods stores.
The recipe was originally published in The Irish Heritage Cookbook and is featured in Margaret’s new collection, Favorite Flavors of Ireland.
Margaret M. Johnson is an American author who has devoted her career to Irish cuisine. Her love for Ireland has produced several cookbooks dedicated to promoting traditional and modern Irish recipes and produce including: Christmas Flavors of Ireland (2013), Flavors of Ireland (2012); The Irish Pub Cookbook (2006); The Irish Spirit (2005); The New Irish Table (2003); The Irish Heritage Cookbook (1999); Cooking With Irish Spirits (1995).
In tribute to her thirty year love affair with Ireland her latest collection is entitled ‘Favorite Flavors of Ireland’ and is a retrospective, looking back at her most loved dishes. Perfect for food lovers at home and abroad, Margaret’s book is a veritable tour of the country, taking you on a journey through the seasons. Read more about Margarets love for Ireland here.