I set out to make Merrill's mother's Irish Brown Soda Bread (http://food52.com/recipes...) and ended up changing everything but the butter and baking soda. Turns out the basic recipe holds up pretty well to improvisation. —mawhorts
whole wheat flour, plus more for kneading and baking
all purpose flour
whole spelt flour
old fashioned rolled grains, or simply oats (I used a combination of rye, barley, oats, and wheat.)
oat bran (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons
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.)
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.