Home Food A Hearty Irish Bread Absolutely Anyone Can Make

A Hearty Irish Bread Absolutely Anyone Can Make

by белый

This brown bread recipe, a staple of the Ballymaloe Cookery School in Cork, Ireland, is as satisfying and foolproof as they come.

The first time I had brown bread from Ballymaloe Cookery School in Cork, Ireland, was at a welcome lunch for students.

The menu was simple: Loaves of the bread accompanied poached Poole prawns from Ballycotton Bay, a 15-minute walk from the farm where the school sits. Darina Allen, the school’s co-founder, buzzed around the room, encouraging us to spread thick slices of the bread with mayonnaise or butter, and pile on the tiny prawns. The quiet luxury of all of it was heady, but it was the plain brown loaf — nutty, barely sweet and still warm — that felt most special.

Recipe: Ballymaloe Brown Bread

“This recipe takes the time and mystery out of yeast breadmaking,” Ms. Allen said. “It’s a gift for life.” She mixed yeast with warm water and some treacle syrup, let it foam, then stirred the mixture into whole-wheat flour, gave it a quick rise, and baked.

An adaptation of the Grant loaf, which Doris Grant, a nutritionist, created during World War II to make easy use of rations, the loaf was less fluffy than sandwich bread and less cakey than soda bread, with none of the chew of sourdough, and though it looked similar enough to Danish rugbrod, it was neither dense nor sour.

In time, Ms. Grant’s recipe made its way to Ireland and into the hands of Myrtle Allen, Darina’s mother-in-law and the chef of Ballymaloe House, an inn and restaurant. Myrtle Allen died in 2018, but the Ballymaloe kitchens continue to turn out 20 loaves of this bread each day, as it has for the past 40 years.

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“Unlike an Irish soda bread, which is all about the handling, this one has no tricks or secrets,” said JR Ryall, a pastry chef at Ballymaloe for two decades. “It’s a simple process that makes something wonderful to eat.”

Students at the cooking school and guests at Ballymaloe House have taken the recipe home and now bake it all over the world. Lily Starbuck, a former student, sells it at her cafe, the West End, on Fishers Island, N.Y. This summer, she plans to teach a cooking class with Ballymaloe brown bread as the first lesson: “I do not fear a drop in sales once people see how easy it can be,” she said. “I instead see that as a victory in getting people back in the kitchen and nourishing themselves.”

The version here makes a perfect loaf of bread in less than two hours. With its singularly low skill-to-outcome ratio, it has, for decades, broken through the baker-or-nonbaker divide.

Ballymaloe now makes this loaf with wheat grown on the farm, and Ms. Allen accompanies it with homemade butter and Camembert.

“I don’t need a Prada handbag,” she said. “For me, this is real luxury.”

A version of this article appears in print on  , Section D, Page 5 of the New York edition with the headline: Easy-to-Make Bread, in Under Two Hours. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

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