Book Bites – Laurin’s Special Brown Bread

I know, it’s rather presumptuous of me to call it “Laurin’s Special Brown Bread,” but I’m lazy and couldn’t come up with anything better! This recipe actually came about accidentally, but was an instant hit, so I’ve stuck with it.

So here’s the story: Last St. Patrick’s Day, I went to a party at my neighbors’ and they asked me to bring some rolls and a dessert. Now, if you know me, you know I can’t just go buy something at the store like a normal person, I have to try to be “authentic” (total geek that I am). I planned to take Irish Soda Bread Muffins and Guinness Chocolate Cake (both fabulous – maybe I’ll post those recipes someday). But then I remembered having this amazing Brown Bread with my Potato & Leek Soup when I was at the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare, Ireland. So, I dug around till I found a “healthy” brown bread recipe, made it, and we all loved it.

Unfortunately (or not?), the next time I went to make it, I didn’t have enough plain yogurt and voila! “Laurin’s Special Brown Bread” was born. Turns out, it’s really easy to adapt to fit whatever you’re in the mood for, which I believe is the best kind of recipe.

For this recipe, you’ll need some whole wheat flour (you’ll actually use a mix of all-purpose and whole wheat). Either white or regular whole wheat flour works beautifully. I happen to really like this one:

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You’ll do the usual – mix up most of your basic dry ingredients and cut in your butter until it makes some lovely little crumblies.

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Then you mix in your remaining dry ingredients: your whole wheat flour and some quick oats. At this moment you have a choice, if you want to deck your loaf out, you can add in some fruit or cinnamon/butterscotch/chocolate chips – whatever razzles your berries. For this particular loaf, I chose to add some raisins (which I’d plumped in warm water for about ten minutes) and some peeled and diced Granny Smith apple.

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Mix it all in nicely before you get to your next pivotal moment. So the original recipe I found called for 1-1/2 cups nonfat plain yogurt. I don’t normally have that in my fridge, but I always have nonfat plain Greek yogurt and that’s what I use in my bread. However, when I “messed up” the first time, it was because I only had about 3/4 cup of Greek yogurt, and I didn’t realize it until I got to this point in the recipe. Oh, no! What now? The only thing I could find was a single-serve cup (which happened to be about 3/4 of a cup! Yay!) of Blueberry Greek yogurt. Hmmm….really? Well, I had no choice, so I dumped it in. Turns out, best mistake I could’ve made! The blueberry yogurt added a great new level of flavor. So, now I do that every time!

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Looks weird, I know. Just trust me – it’s amazing!

Gently stir that all together. If your dough still seems like it’s too dry, you can add in milk (any kind – I like to use almond milk) 1 teaspoon at a time, until it holds together, but isn’t sticky.

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Turn your yumminess out onto a lightly floured surface and knead about 5 or 6 times to bring it together and form a ball. Place that baby on a cookie sheet (lightly sprayed with oil). Cut a large “X” in the top of the loaf and pop it in the oven at 375° for about 40 minutes or until well-browned.

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I know, I know. It’s not a work of art. But it sure does taste good, and isn’t that what really counts?

Try to resist while you cool it on a wire rack. Then slice that lovely ball of tastiness up, spread on some cinnamon-honey butter (just whip together a stick of butter, 1/3 c. honey, and as much cinnamon as you like), and dive in. But try not to get the butter on your book!

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I’m just about finished with Anne Elisabeth Stengl’s latest, Golden Daughter. The review will be up soon! But for now, here’s the recipe:

Laurin’s Special Brown Bread

1 c. all-purpose flour

2 T. sugar

1 t. baking powder

1 t. baking soda

1/2 t. salt

1-1/2 T. butter

2 c. whole wheat flour

1/4 c. quick oats

1 to 1-1/2 c. total mix-ins (raisins, apples, berries, chips, nuts, whatever), optional

1-1/2 c. Greek yogurt (plain or flavored or combo)

1 t. (almond or whatever you have on hand) milk, or more as needed

Lightly grease a cookie sheet with cooking spray. Mix a.p. flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut in butter till it makes crumbs. Stir in wheat flour and oats. Stir in any mix-ins. Gently stir in yogurt. *If mixture is too dry, add milk 1 t. at a time, just till dough holds together, but isn’t sticky. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead about 5 or 6 times to form a ball. Place dough in center of cookie sheet. Cut a large X in the top of the loaf. Bake until well-browned, about 40 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. -Psalm 34:8

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2 thoughts on “Book Bites – Laurin’s Special Brown Bread

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