Brown Bread

James Beard

Author and Educator

James Beard, an inveterate traveler, acquired this recipe from Myrtle Allen, owner of Ballymaloe House, a country-house hotel near Cork, Ireland. When he visited unannounced, he was delighted to discover that Mrs. Allen was a great fan of his cookbooks and even had one of his recipes on her menu. The Allen family still owns the property, set in a 400-acre working farm, as well as the adjacent world-famous Ballymaloe Cookery School.


  • 3 3/4 cups whole wheat flour, preferably stone-ground (available in health food stores)
  • 1 1/2 packages yeast
  • 2 cups hot water (105°-110°)
  • 2 tablespoons unsulfured molasses
  • 1 tablespoon salt


Put flour in a large mixing bowl and place in a warm oven. Both flour and bowl should be warm when you make the bread.

Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup of the hot water and allow it to proof. Stir molasses into the other 1/2 cup of hot water. Combine flour, proofed yeast, molasses, and salt in a bowl. Add enough hot water (about 1 cup or more) to make a wet, sticky dough. Put directly into a buttered 9 x 5 x 3-inch bread tin and allow to rise by one-third its original size.

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Bake for 50 minutes, or until the crust is nicely browned and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Turn off the oven. Remove from the pan and leave on the rack in the turned-off oven for 20 minutes more to give a crustier exterior.


One loaf