The great white flour shortage of 2020 is about to come to an end at our house – I have an order in to Adluh in Columbia, South Carolina for a delivery on Saturday. We have a reasonably well-stocked pantry, right now, so I am definitely not going to leave the house just to try and find flour. Ain’t gonna happen. Besides, we were low on grits and I’ve been buying grits from Adluh for years. I ordered some of them, as well.

Far from feeling cabin-fever or confined, I’m much more leery about mingling with the great unwashed masses, right now. There are still way too many people out there who are not talking any of this seriously. I’ll stay home, thankyouverymuch.

We were also able to have a bit of liquid refreshment delivered since the State Stores have closed down.  It’s always good to have a bit of medicinal elixir in the house…

But back to baking…

It’s not that we were totally out of flour – there are varying amounts of Anson Mills Red Fife, whole wheat, rye, sprouted wheat berry, semolina, cake flour, organic whole wheat pastry flour, and Tipo “00” in the pantry. Just no all-purpose or white bread flour. Yes, one can make a perfectly acceptable loaf of bread using 100% whole wheat or 100% rye flours – or even 100% white – but I tend to like my breads a bit lighter and like to blend flours. Even in times of national emergency, I’m spoiled.

Since we have flour arriving, I felt comfortable splurging and making a few loaves.

These loaves are based upon a recipe from Andrew Zimmern via Food and Wine magazine. I followed his recipe fairly close, except I used a blend of 2 cups Tipo “00” flour and 3 1/4 cups Anson Mills Red Fife. Two were topped with sesame seeds and two with poppy seeds.

Irish Country Bread

It has a lovely light crumb and the perfect – slightly chewy.

Irish Country Bread

adapted from Andrew Zimmern

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 3 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 5 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing
  • 1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • Poppy seeds and sesame seeds, optional

In a small bowl, whisk 1/2 cup of the warm water with the yeast. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, sift the flour with the salt and sugar into a food processor bowl. Add the butter and process until it is mixed in well. Place into a stand mixer.

Add the yeast water and another 1 1/2 cups of water and mix on low until dough starts coming together. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Form a ball and transfer to a large buttered bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 450°. Punch down the dough and scrape it onto a lightly floured work surface. Cut the dough into 4 pieces. Gently shape the dough into 4 rounds and transfer to a large baking sheet. Cover loosely with a kitchen towel and let stand in a warm place until nearly doubled in bulk, about 30 minutes.

Brush the rounds with the egg wash and sprinkle poppy seeds or sesame seeds, if desired. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until well browned and firm. Let the loaves cool on the baking sheet for 20 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely.

An excellent loaf! And, if made smaller, would make excellent hamburger buns!

This will definitely get us through the weekend… Time to start looking for the next batch.

If we’re going top be stuck at home, we’re gonna eat well, dammit!