Irish Brown Bread

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2 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon fine salt
2 cups buttermilk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Dust a baking sheet with some flour or lay down a sheet of parchment paper. Whisk together the flours, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add the buttermilk and melted butter. Mix it all up with your hands until nearly all of the flour is moistened and the dough holds together – about one minute.

Dust a clean work surface with some flour. Set the dough on top and knead it just a bit. You don’t want to see any visible pockets of flour, but you also want to be careful not to knead it too much. The kneading should last no longer than a minute.

Make the dough into a round of about 7 inches in diameter and 2 inches thick. Put it on the baking sheet. Cut a big X across the top from edge to edge and about 1/2 inch deep.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the bread makes a hollow sound when tapped. Move it to a wire rack and cool. You’re supposed to let this bread cool completely before you eat it so it doesn’t crumble, but hot bread is very hard to resist.

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