Here is a whole wheat version of the Irish Soda Bread I made last year. Irish Brown Bread (also known as Wheaten Bread) is a no yeast quick bread made with more whole wheat flour than white, baking soda, and buttermilk. The ingredients will vary (including type of grain used) based on the region. I kept it simple with just a handful of ingredients. It is a great bread for those uncomfortable with yeast or if you don’t want to wait around all day for the bread to rise. The crusty exterior gives way to a moist and crumbly interior, perfect for serving with stews or eating by the slice with butter or jam.
Mix the bread just until the streaks of flour disappear. Over-mixing will cause a heavy bread. Right before baking, cut a 1/2 inch deep “X” into the top of the bread to keep it from splitting while in the oven (or to “let the fairies out” to keep them from spoiling the bread).
This bread is much easier to cut after it has cooled on a wire rack for a couple of hours. Good luck waiting that long! If you cut into the loaf immediately after it comes out of the oven (I may or may not have done this in the past), it is more likely to crumble and fall apart.
Irish Brown Bread
Adapted from Chowhound
2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups well shaken buttermilk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Place rack in center of oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. If using a pizza stone, place on center rack.
In a large bowl, combine whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in the buttermilk and melted butter. Mix together using your hands just until dough comes together.
Lightly flour work surface and add dough. Barely knead until smooth and no streaks of flour remain. Lightly press down the dough to form a 7 inch wide, 2 inch thick disc. If using pizza stone, lightly flour a baker’s peel and gently transfer the dough. If not, lightly flour baking sheet and gently transfer dough. Use a sharp knife to cut an “X” across the diameter of the bread, 1/2 inch deep.
Transfer the bread to the stone using the baker’s peel or place baking sheet in preheated oven. Bake until golden brown and bread makes a hollow sound when tapped, 35-40 minutes.
Place on wire rack for 2 hours. The bread should be completely cooled before slicing.