MacNean Wheaten Bread... recipe by Neven Maguire...

There's something very comforting in home made bread. The making, the baking itself which fills whole house with fantastic smell and then the eating - of fresh, still warm bread with a generous spread of butter on top. I love brown bread, Irish soda brown bread. Always wanted to make my own. I've made Irish soda bread many times, but I've never made the "brown version" of it - that is until now. The MacNean wheaten bread is from now on officially my favourite brown bread! It's quick and very easy to make, rises beautifully, smells so delicious and tastes even better! It also keeps well for good few days.

This recipe comes from a fantastic cook book "The Nation's favourite food" by Neven Maguire. Thank you Neven - for a superb recipe and the best brown bread I've tasted in Ireland!

How to make it...

- 450 g wholemeal flour
- 100 g strong white bread flour
- 2 teaspoons bread soda
- 25 g light muscavado sugar
- 600 ml buttermilk
- 3 tablespoons sunflower seeds
- 2 tablespoons golden syrup (I used honey)
- 4 teaspoons melted butter
- handful of porridge oats, to decorate
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds

Preheat the oven to 200 C, grease 2 600 ml bread tins (I used one big 900 ml tin). Sift the flours, bread soda and salt into a bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the sugar, buttermilk, sunflower seeds, golden syrup and melted butter. Using a large spoon mix everything well. You're aiming for dropping consistency, mixture that binds together without being sloppy (I didn't have to use whole buttermilk, only about 500 ml, all depends on the flour you're using).
Divide the mixture into your two prepared tins, sprinkle over some porridge oats, pumpkin seeds. Bake for about 40 minutes (my one big loaf took exactly 1 hour). Your ready loaves will have slightly cracked crusty top. Tip each loaf out of the tin and it tapped base sounds hollow it means it's ready. If it doesn't bake for another 5 minutes. Tip out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely before slicing.


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