Brown soda bread

(Wiqan Ang for The Boston Globe)
By Sheryl Julian & Julie Riven
March 11, 2009

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Makes 2

Old-fashioned brown soda breads are usually made with butter, but canola oil makes a loaf that's firmer with a moist crumb. Let the bread cool for 30 minutes before slicing and serving with butter. Use it for open-faced meat sandwiches or for a breakfast bread with marmalade.

2 3/4 cups whole-wheat flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup canola oil
2 cups buttermilk
Extra whole-wheat flour (for sprinkling)
1. Set the oven at 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a bowl, combine the whole-wheat and all-purpose flours, baking soda, sugar, and salt. With a wooden spoon, mix the dry ingredients until they are blended.

3. In another bowl, combine the oil and buttermilk. Use the spoon to stir the liquids into the flour mixture until they comes together to form a dough.

4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead it gently several times until smooth. Divide the dough in half and shape each into a ball. Pinch the edges into the center and turn the balls over so the tops are smooth. Set them, smooth sides up, on the baking sheet, leaving at least 4 inches between them.

5. With a paring knife, mark a 3/4-inch-deep cross on the top of each round. Bake the breads for 25 to 30 minutes or until they are puffed and browned and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.

6. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into thick slices for serving.