Pat O'Brien's Favorite Irish Brown Bread
4 cups whole-wheat flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
About 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1. Mix together all the dry ingredients; add enough buttermilk to form a nice soft dough. Turn out on a lightly floured board and knead lightly.
2. Form dough into a circle. Place in greased 9-inch baking tin (or on greased baking sheet). The dough should be about 1 1/2 to 2 inches high. Cut a cross 1/2 inch deep over the top with a floured knife. This helps bread cook more evenly.
3. Bake in preheated 400 degrees F. oven for 40 minutes (or until loaf sounds hollow when rapped lightly on the base with the knuckles). Remove bread from pan; cool on a wire cake rack. Bread should not be cut until it firms up. Toast it for breakfast or tea; spread lavishly with butter.
Pat O'Brien's Old-Fashioned Rice Pudding
1/4 cup long-grain rice
1 qt. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon or nutmeg
1/3 cup sugar (white or light brown)
Pinch of salt
1/4-1/2 cup raisins
1. Wash rice. Place in well-greased casserole with milk, vanilla, cinnamon (or nutmeg), sugar and salt; stir.
2. Bake uncovered in preheated 275 degrees F. oven for 3 hrs. Stir frequently during first hour. Add raisins during last 1/2 hr. Serve hot or cold dusted with additional ground cinnamon or nutmeg. Serves 6.
Thoughts: If desired, 2 tbsps. treacle can be added to the dough (mix with buttermilk). "Brown" bread is made in a 100 or more ways in Irish households. It is made from wheaten meal (whole wheat flour). Boxed brown bread mix imported from Ireland is available through mail order houses or food shops specializing in Irish foodstuffs. When properly baked, the bread has a rough texture, "tweedy" (brown and white) appearance and comes out about three inches high.
Years ago the bread was cooked in a closed casserole called the “pot oven" used in Ireland in the open fires. The pot oven is a three-legged cast-iron saucepan (with lid) placed in the open fire with burning turf placed underneath it.