Niamh Doherty

Simply Nutritious Brown Bread

In Baking on April 17, 2010 at 10:51

Everyone needs a quick and tasty bread recipe under their belt, and this is it. It’s a more modern version of soda bread – it’s baked in a loaf tin as opposed to in a round, flat cake with a cross marked in it –  but is just as delicious and probably more versatile. This was the first recipe that Darina Allen demonstrated last Monday, and she had it mixed and in the loaf tin in about three minutes flat. I couldn’t wait to try it myself, but was expecting it to take me a little longer – after all, Darina’s been making this bread for years. I turned on the oven, got all my ingredients together, and honestly, the oven had only just finished pre-heating by the time it was ready – it really is that fast. Next time you run out of bread, give this recipe a go – I promise you’ll have it in the oven before you’ve even walked to the shop to buy a plastic loaf.

When adding the buttermilk, keep back between 50-100mls of the liqud to add later if need be – depending on the flour, it may not need the full amount of liquid specified, and it’s easier to add more liquid to bring it together than to put in more flour. I scattered some sunflower and sesame seeds across the top of my bread before popping it in the oven to give it some more texture. Next time, I’ll press them in a little bit as some of them fell off when I was trying to prise the loaf out of the tin. You can also add some seeds into the breadmix itself, but be careful not to add too many as they’ll sink to the bottom. Finally, I usually ignore instructions about lining or oiling loaf tins or cake pans, dismissing them as time-wasting faff,  but you really do need to oil the tin here or you’ll never get the bread out when it’s cooked.

Simply Nutritious Brown Bread (taken from Forgotten Skills, by Darina Allen)

Makes one 2lb loaf or 3 small loaves


400g stone ground wholemeal flour

75g  white flour

1tsp salt

1 level tsp bread soda, sieved

1 egg

1 tbsp sunflower oil

1 tsp honey

425ml buttermilk

Sunflower or sesame seeds to decorate.


1. Prehat the oven to 200 Celcius/Gas Mark 6.

2. Put all the dry ingredients into a large bowl and mix well.

3. Whisk the egg, oil and honey together, and measure the buttermilk. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the egg/oil/honey mixture, and most of the buttermilk.

4. Mix well, adding more buttermilk if necessary. The mixture should be soft and slightly sloppy.

5. Pour the mixture into an oiled pan and bake for approx 60 minutes (though start checking it from 45 minutes onwards – mine was ready at around the 50-minute mark). The bread is cooked when it is nice and crusty, and sounds hollow when tapped.

6. Remove from tin and leave to cool on a wire rack before slicing and slathering with butter.

  1. Ah Niamh, I’m going to have to stop following your blog. I get too bleedin’ hungry every time a read a new post! I’m thinking “even I” could make the bread though (if I actually bought the ingredients that is!)

  2. Mairead, a CHILD could make this bread. Go buy the ingredients!

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