Eileen's wheaten bread

A few years ago, on several occasions, we stayed at a small b&b in Sligo in the west of Ireland. The owner Eileen always provided fantastic breakfasts and in one of our return visits, she very kindly gave me her wheaten bread recipe. I would like to share this with you.

I've made this recipe many times (with slight modifications from the original) and have given it to friends and family here in Northern Ireland, and also sent it to Canada, USA and Italy. I have provided step by step instructions in this blog. If you manage to make this wheaten bread recipe, I hope you enjoy it and please leave your comments at the bottom of this page. I would love to hear your views.

This mixture makes three rectangular baking moulds of 1.4 litres size (my tins are 220mmx110mmx60mm). Some guidance on baking moulds sizes here. Although the quantity seems a lot, they do freeze extremely well. I usually tuck into one while it is fresh and freeze the other two for future use. Just remember it is pretty solid and it is best to allow a few hours to defrost. They also make a great offering when visiting friends and family.



LETS GET BAKING

INGREDIENTS

This recipe makes 3 loaves

454g (1 lb) plain white flour
454g (1 lb) wholemeal flour
40g (1 1/2 oz) wheat Bran (or 4 heaped tbsp)
80g (3 oz) Wheatgerm (or 4 heaped tbsp)
20g  bicarbonate of soda (or 4 small heaped tsp)
60 ml vegetable oil (or 4 level tbsp)
2 pints of buttermilk
1 level tsp salt
3 heaped tsp light brown sugar

Please note: The measurements for the original recipe were in a variety of spoon sizes. I've converted these to weight measurements. This recipe does not need to be too precise, feel free to use whatever form of measurement you are comfortable with.

METHOD IN STAGES

Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas Mark 2.

Butter three 1.4 litres baking tins and sprinkle these with flour.

Measure all ingredients. The above gives you an idea of all the ingredients you would need.

In a large mixing bowl, mix all the dry ingredients thoroughly. Make a well in the centre of the dry mixture and pour in the vegetable oil. Then add one pint of the buttermilk to the mixture. Start stirring, then gradually add the remainder of the buttermilk until you have a sticky mixture. You may not need to use the entire second pint. The mixture needs to be sticky, shiny, wet, but not runny.

The photo above will help you to get an idea of the consistency.


Divide the mixture between the three already prepared tins. If they look a bit lumpy at the top, just slightly dampen your fingers with a little water and flatten the top. Bake in the centre of the oven for 1 hour, 150C/300F/Gas Mark 2.

Remove from the oven, let them cool for 5 minutes, then remove from the tins. If they are stuck to the walls of the tins, just rub a blunt knife around the walls to release the loaves. To test they are cooked, tap the bottom of the loaves, they should sound hollow. Leave to cool on a rack and while fresh, enjoy a few slices with butter and jam.

I call these slices of heaven.


RECIPE WITHOUT PHOTOS


INGREDIENTS

This recipe makes 3 loaves

454g (1lb) plain white flour
454g (1lb) wholemeal flour
40g (1 1/2 oz) wheat Bran (or 4 heaped tbsp)
80g (3 oz) Wheatgerm (or 4 heaped tbsp)
20g  bicarbonate of soda (or 4 small heaped tsp)
60 ml vegetable oil (or 4 level tbsp)
2 pints of buttermilk
1 level tsp salt
3 heaped tsp light brown sugar

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas Mark 2.

  2. Butter three 1.4 litres baking tins and sprinkle these with flour.

  3. Measure all ingredients.

  4. In a large mixing bowl, mix all the dry ingredients thoroughly. Make a well in the centre of the dry mixture and pour in the vegetable oil. Then add one pint of the buttermilk to the mixture. Start stirring, then gradually add the remainder of the buttermilk until you have a sticky mixture. You may not need to use the entire second pint. The mixture needs to be sticky, shiny, wet, but not runny.

  5. Divide the mixture between the three already prepared tins. If they look a bit lumpy at the top, just slightly dampen your fingers with a little water and flatten the top. Bake in the centre of the oven for 1 hour, 150C/300F/Gas Mark 2.

  6. Remove from the oven, let them cool for 5 minutes, then remove from the tins. If they are stuck to the walls of the tins, just rub a blunt knife around the walls to release the loaves. To test they are cooked, tap the bottom of the loaves, they should sound hollow. Leave to cool on a rack and while fresh, enjoy a few slices with butter and jam.

ENJOY....


TIPS:

  • Sometimes bicarbonate of soda goes a bit lumpy. If so, make sure you pass it through a fine sieve before adding it to the dry mixture. Lumpy bicarbonate of soda could taste quite unpleasant.
  • I have never worked out why sometimes I need all the buttermilk and sometimes I’m left with a little extra liquid. It may have to do with different brands of flour - I’m not sure. Just go easy with the buttermilk at the end of mixing the ingredients. In time, you will get to know the look of the correct consistency.  
  • If you do not have access to buttermilk, mix yogurt and full fat milk to a consistency similar to buttermilk. I use this for soda bread that I make often (future recipe to come).