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Author Notes: I set out to make Merrill's mother's Irish Brown Soda Bread (http://food52.com/recipes/8417-irish-brown-soda-bread) and ended up changing everything but the butter and baking soda. Turns out the basic recipe holds up pretty well to improvisation. - mawhorts
Makes one loaf
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour, plus more for kneading and baking
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup whole spelt flour
- 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled grains, or simply oats (I used a combination of rye, barley, oats, and wheat.)
- 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
- 2 tablespoons oat bran (optional)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into bits (If you use salted butter, as I did, reduce the salt to between 1/2 and 3/4 teaspoon.)
- 1 to 1 1/3 cups kefir (or buttermilk)
- 1 tablespoon molasses (optional)
- Place a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 425 degrees F. Sprinkle a baking sheet lightly with flour and oat bran (optional).
- In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
- Add the butter and toss to coat in the flour. Use two forks or a pastry blender to cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal. (You can also do this in the food processor if you'd like.)
- Gradually add the kefir and molasses and stir or pulse just until the dough comes together (you may not need all the kefir).
- On a floured surface, knead the dough gently for about a minute until smooth. Shape the dough into a ball and transfer to the baking sheet. Pat gently into a 7-inch round and sprinkle the top evenly with about a tablespoon of flour; with your fingertips, gently spread the flour evenly over the top of the round. Using a very sharp knife, cut a shallow "X" in the top of the loaf. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the loaf is brown, and the bottom sounds hollow when you tap it. Cool on a rack for at least 2 hours before slicing.
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