One nice thing about spending more time at home is finding more time to dig through my vast cookbook collection and flip through books that aren’t necessarily a part of my usual go-to references. Since I’ve been using my cookbooks as a way to ‘travel’ to far away places right now, I picked up my copy of Clodagh McKenna’s Irish Kitchen cookbook to “visit” Ireland for a day. I was quickly reminded of the recipe that I’ve always wanted to try from her book, but never got around to making which is her family Health Loaf bread recipe.
Since isolation has begun there have been endless posts about making bread at home and figuring out how to create your own sourdough starter, but as busy parents, I’ve found it’s been difficult for us to find time, even while in quarantine, to make a starter, or even just make a bread dough that requires rising time and kneading.
Beyond the health benefits of this bread (it’s full of fibre and I love that it includes spirulina) what attracted me the most to this recipe from Clodagh McKenna is the fact that, like a making a cake, you can just throw all the recipes into a bowl, mix it up, put it in a loaf pan, fling it in the oven, and about an hour later you will have a large and glorious loaf of bread to enjoy!
Keep reading for how to make this delicious and easy health loaf bread recipe:
Clodagh McKenna’s Health Loaf Bread
Makes 2 loaves
(note: I’ve found this works well in one slightly larger loaf pan)
What You Need:
3½ cups wholemeal flour
½ cup wheat germ, plus extra for dusting
½ cup plain white flour
½ cup wheat bran
½ cup ground flax
1 tbsp ground spirulina
1¾ cup pin-head oatmeal
2 tsp soft brown sugar
2½ tsp bread soda or bicarbonate of soda
1 litre/2 (US) pints buttermilk
For the topping
2 tsp (one per loaf) wheat germ
2 tsp (one per loaf) sesame seeds
2 tsp (one per loaf) pumpkin seeds
What To Do:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 230°C/450°F
2. Pour all the dry ingredients in to a large bowl and mix together.
3. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and gradually stir in the buttermilk using a wooden spoon to make a moist dough.
4. Divide the dough between 2 greased 900g (2lb) loaf tins which have been dusted with wheat germ. Smooth the top and make a spacious cross on each one with a floured knife. Sprinkle with wheat germ, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds.
5. Place in the pre-heated oven at 230°C/450°F for ten minutes, and then reduce the heat to 140°C/275°F and bake for one hour.
6. When the loaves are cooked, remove from the oven and partly cool in the tins, then turn out and leave to cool completely on a cooling rack.
(Story by Editor-in-Chief, Gracie Carroll)