Wholesome home comforts
Some things in life smell pretty awesome. If I was pressed to provide my personal highlights, they would include – in no particular order – apple crumble, freshly-earthed carrots, sharpie pens and, of course, oven-fresh wheaten bread. Not all at once though, thanks. The last is a wholesome, simple loaf and a real staple where I grew up in Northern Ireland. I could only imagine the scandal that would ensue if one were to visit any local cafe and find wheaten bread absent from the menu.
Everyone back home claims to have a great family recipe and, naturally, this one is no exception. The bread itself is remarkably flexible. Whether you eat it smeared with butter and jam, topped with plump prawns or simply include it as part of a traditional ploughman’s lunch, you’ll not be disappointed. You can also add additional ingredients and flavours to this Irish Wheaten Bread recipe to satisfy your own sense of culinary adventure (slow cooked onions, roasted garlic cloves or a handful of crunchy walnuts all work really well).
125 grams instant porridge oats
280 milliliters boiling water
60 grams butter
2 tablespoons runny honey
125 grams natural yogurt
175 milliliters full cream milk
330 grams wholemeal flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Irish Wheaten Bread Recipe
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C and liberally butter a 20×20 cm square easy release tin. Line the base with nonstick baking paper.
2. In a large bowl, combine instant porridge oats and boiling water and whisk for a few seconds to combine. Add the butter, and then leave the mixture for 10 minutes, allowing oats to absorb the moisture.
3. In a jug, blend together milk, yogurt and honey. Slowly pour this mixture onto the porridge oats whilst continually whisking, until completely combined and smooth. If you would like to add any additional ingredients to your bread, such as nuts or roasted garlic, mix them in now.
4. Finally sift flour, baking soda and salt into the bowl. Tip any bran left in the sifter and fold the mixture together until it makes thick, sticky dough.
5. Pour dough into the prepared tin, flatten with the back of a spoon to form an even surface and then place in the preheated oven. Bake for 40 minutes. If the bread starts to over-brown whilst in the oven, place a square of tinfoil over the top of the tin.
6. After baking, remove bread from the tin and place on a baking rack to cool. The bread is at its best around 30 minutes after cooking whilst still a little warm, but it will keep well in an airtight box for up to three days.