As much as I enjoy Irish Soda bread (a quick bread method) with a big pot of Lamb and Barley Soup, my favourite Irish bread is actually a traditional yeast-risen bread called Treacle Brown Bread. Black treacle (molasses) is used to create a dense, dark and slightly sweet bread. It has a satisfying crunch when you take that first bite. A dark brown crisp crust is characteristic of this bread, which is the result of a unique double bake process.
The Treacle Brown Bread tastes at its absolute best when served simply with a generous application of fresh salty butter. To elevate the flavour combinations even further, serve it thinly sliced and buttered along with chunks of Old Cheddar and slathered with Brown Pickle relish. You will love this bread!
Irish Treacle Brown Bread
Equipment: 5 – (5” x 3”) mini loaf pans (in this post, I used my cast iron terrine plus two mini loaf pans) or alternatively, 2 x 8.5” x 4.5” loaf pans
(adapted from many recipes on the web, such as Martha Stewart)
CHEF TALK: The unique aspect of this bread is the double bake technique, which gives the brown bread its characteristic crunchy crust and brown appearance, not to mention the flavour that this caramelization gives to the bread. You will notice that there is a rustic whole grain appearance, pleasing texture and amazing crumb derived mainly from the wholemeal flour. I prefer using mini loaf pans for this bread – the loaves are the perfect size when thinly sliced and served with butter and cheese.
If you never made a yeast-risen bread before, this is a great beginner’s bread. I have simplified the method to a single rise technique which works very well with this delicious wholemeal bread. Try it – you will not be
I did not have hard cider on hand, however, I did have boiled apple cider (I show you how to make your own boiled apple cider in this post). A tablespoon of boiled apple cider with the addition of ¾ cup water is a perfect alternative.
A note about the Double Bake Technique: The double bake technique that I mentioned in the Method (Step 6) uses a baking sheet which is preheated in the oven. The purpose of the double bake is to caramelize the entire loaf when it is removed from the loaf pan. The preheated baking sheet will help this caramelization to take place much more effectively as opposed to placing the hot
- 2 ¼ cups (280 g) of all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (165 g) black syrup (molasses) or ¼ cup molasses + ¼ cup golden syrup (Lyle’s Golden Syrup)
- 1 cup (250 ml) filtered water
- ¾ cup (175 ml) hard dry cider (or 1 tablespoon boiled apple cider + water to ¾ cup)
- 3 packages active dry yeast (1/4 oz. each) 21 g total
- 2 ¼ cups coarse wholemeal flour (I used Everland Organic 100% Wholewheat Flour)
- 4 teaspoons (16 g) kosher salt
- Butter baking pans well and dust with flour. Tap out excess flour. Set aside. Alternatively, butter or grease the baking pans and line with parchment paper using the pinwheel method.
- In a small saucepan, combine the molasses with the 1 cup of water, and the apple cider. Heat over medium heat until the mixture is slightly warm (105oF – 110oF). Remove from the heat. Sprinkle the active yeast over the top and let it stand until the yeast is bubbly, about 10 minutes (See Learning Tips below to learn more about Blooming yeast).
- Combine the all-purpose flour and wholemeal flour and the kosher salt in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. On low speed, combine the ingredients.
- Add the yeast mixture and beat on medium speed about 2 to 3 minutes. The dough will be dense and heavy.
- Divide the dough between the prepared pans. CHEF TIP: I find it easier to weigh the dough and divide evenly between the pans. At this point, refrigerate for a slow rise overnight (which is what I usually do), or allow the dough to rise until doubled in size, (rises to the top of the loaf pans), about 1 hour. If you refrigerate the dough overnight, allow enough time for the cold bread dough to double in size (rises to the top of the loaf pans), before proceeding.
- Preheat the oven to 350oF. Place a baking sheet on the bottom rack (this baking sheet will be used for the double bake technique and needs to be preheated – see Chef Talk above for explanation).
- Bake the loaves for 20 minutes (30 minutes if you are using the terrine or 8.5 x 4.5” loaf pans). Carefully remove the bread from their pans and then place the loaves on the preheated baking pan. Continue baking for a further 20 minutes for the mini loaf pans and a further 30 minutes for the larger loaf pans. To ensure doneness, an instant-read thermometer should indicate 190oF to 200oF degrees.
- Transfer the loaves to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.
TO STORE: The Irish Treacle Brown Bbread will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. The bread also
TO SERVE: Slice the Irish Treacle Brown Bread thinly and place on a wooden platter/board. Serve slathered with salted butter, and with room temperature Old Cheddar Cheese and chutney (like Urb’n’Spice’s Signature Brown Pickle.) Alternatively, serve alongside Blenditarian Hamburger Soup.
Please CLICK the link above to access my Urb’n’Spice LEARNING TIPS, which are listed alphabetically on the Learning Tips blog post under the following subheadings:
- Blooming – Yeast
- Proofing – Yeast
- Parchment Paper – Pinwheel Method
- Oven Temperature Accuracy
- Internal Oven Thermometers
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If you make this Irish Treacle Brown Bread, please leave me a comment below with your feedback. Don’t forget to pin this recipe for later!
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