Brack - Irish Yeast Bread
(Click Brack Recipe to download a pdf of this recipe.) Everyone knows about Irish soda bread, but this Irish bread is one of the most loved breads in Ireland. Even though it is mostly made in October around Halloween, I thought it was very appropriate for a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day meal.
I love to bake bread. I am surely a novice, but I love the smell of yeast, and I like to know exactly what goes into what I'm eating. Baking bread takes hardly any time at all, the hardest part is the kneading, but really, 10 minutes out of your life to do a little hard exercise isn't much - and it is SO worth it!
I've modified this bread to be a little healthier - I try to eat as "clean" as possible and even though I wasn't able to make this bread entirely clean, I made it a little better with the whole wheat flour and dried apricots rather than a candied peel.
Prep Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Makes 2 loves
- 1 Tbsp dried yeast (a little less than 2 1 1/4 ounce packets)
- 1 1/2 cup of lukewarm water
- 2 oz plus 1 teaspoon of sugar
- 8 oz all purpose flour, plus about 1 1/2-2 cups more
- 8 oz whole wheat flour - I highly recommend King Arthur - it is more expensive, but worth it!
- pinch of salt
- 2 oz very cold butter
- 3 oz raisins (traditionally, this calls for all raisins – no craisins)
- 3 oz craisins
- 2 oz diced dried apricot (traditionally this would be candied peel)
- 2 eggs, beaten
Add the lukewarm water to the yeast, add 1 tsp of sugar, stir and set aside.
Put the flour into a large bowl. Add the butter and salt and using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour to form sand-like crumbs. Work quickly to prevent the butter from becoming too warm. Add the peel, raisins and 2 ounces of sugar to the flour mixture and stir. Make a well in the center of the mixture; add the beaten eggs and the yeast mixture. Work the mixture together to form a soft dough. (Note: this dough is VERY soft, almost batter-like.)
Pour the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes. You will add approximately 2 cups more flour as you knead for it to get to the right consistency. I also found that a dough blade was very helpful to get the dough entirely off the surface each time until I incorporated enough extra flour into the dough.
In the meantime, wash and dry your bowl and dust with flour. Add your dough back to the bowl. Cover with a clean moistened cloth and leave in a warm place until the dough had doubled in size (about 1 hour).Take the dough out of the bowl, divide in 2 even pieces. Knead each half for another few minutes. Form each piece into a round approximately 7 inches wide. Place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Cover again with a moist cloth and let rise another hour.
About 1/2 hour before your dough is done rising, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. After dough is fully raised, bake in oven for 30 minutes until golden brown.
My bread just came out the oven... it's delicious!