The beauty of this bread is its simplicity, and it is best to keep it simple. A key ingredient is the butter. Irish/European butter has a higher butterfat content than American butter – and it does make a difference in baking!
For best results, try and find Kerrygold Irish butter, or use Plugra, a European-style butter. It is well worth the effort!
Also – use a light touch. You don’t want to overmix this!
- 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
- 1/2 cup wheat germ, toasted
- 2 tsp honey
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 tsp butter, room temperature
- 1 large egg
- 2 cups buttermilk (about)
Preheat the oven to 400º.
Spread the wheat germ on a baking tray and place in the hot oven for 3-5 minutes until it is lightly toasted.
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Whisk together the egg, honey and about ¾ of the milk.
When the wheat germ is done cool a bitand add to the dry ingredients.
Cut the butter into small pieces and with the tips of your fingers rub it into the flour.
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the milk mix. Quickly bring the flour in from the edges and mix with the milk, until all the ingredients come together into a soft slightly wet dough. (It should not be overly wet – you should feel you could pick it up without it running through your fingers, but it should be soft enough that it sinks slowly down and takes on the shape of the bowl.) If it is too dry add a little more buttermilk.
Put into a buttered 9″ x 5″ loaf tin, Place in the preheated oven and bake for 50 minutes. The bread should be nicely browned, have a good crust and sound hollow when you tap it. If it seems a little underdone, put it back in for about 10 minutes.
Cool completely in pan.