The one, and only, Brown Bread

Passed down from generation to generation and finally, with the tweaks and additions that make it perfect, passed onto to me at the tender age of 25. Of the innumerable things my mother has given to me, allowing me to post this recipe on the internet ranks right up there with Snape’s sacrifice.

Or, for the less nerd-inclined of you, an extremely selfless act, and please go read Harry Potter.

This brown bread, fresh from the oven, is an enduring memory of my childhood. Eight in the morning, shoving spoonfuls of cereal into my mouth, watching with sleepy eyes as my parents spread it with marmalade to accompany the cup of tea that wakes and greets the day. Then, as my own taste palate expanded, dipping the bread with cheddar cheese into fresh vegetable soup straight from the pot, or making sausage and ketchup sandwiches, or simply smothering it with real butter as I could never, and still cannot, resist nabbing a slice while it’s cooling on the wire rack.

Dragging myself out of bed before noon on a Saturday morning, and with moderate adult supervision, I set about making my version of this family classic, in the hope that I wouldn’t royally screw it up and ruin lunch.

The pressure was on.

Ingredients (Creates one 9 inch circular brown bread, 4 inches deep)

Vegetable oil
300g wholemeal flour

30g sunflower seeds
30g sesame seeds
30g pinhead oatmeal
30g oatbran
30g porridge oats
(Or any combination of the above to make 150g)

A handful of sunflower seeds and sesame seeds
225g self raising flour
1.5 teaspoons bread soda
Half teaspoon sugar
Half teaspoon salt
1 egg
750ml buttermilk

You will need a some sort of a pot with a lid, rather than cake tins, as it needs to be cooked covered.

Steps to deliciousness

1) Oil the pan, and put in the oven as it is preheating to 200 degrees C.

2) Put a big mixing bowl on the scales, and add the wholemeal flour, the 150g seeds, salt and sugar.

3) Sift the self raising flour and baking powder into the bowl.

4) Beat the egg with two dessert spoons of oil, and add to the mix.

5) Add most of the buttermilk.

The baking powder and self raising flour will activate when you add the wet ingredients so you need to move quickly from here on in.

6) Mix well, and add more buttermilk until you have a sloppy concoction that just about holds a shape. If you add too much, even it out with a little wholemeal flour – this recipe is very forgiving, lucky for me.

7) Sprinkle sesame seeds and sunflower seeds into the oiled, preheated pan.

8) Add the dough, spread evenly to the edges with a fork.

9) Top with more seeds.

10) Pop on the lid and put in the oven.

11) Leave for 50 minutes/1 hour until the top is dark brown, and the bread sounds hollow when you tap the bottom.

12) Add butter, and enjoy!

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