Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Irish Freckle Bread - #BreadBakers

This month's bread baker's theme became a history lesson for me. Wendy chose Irish breads and as I searched for one that grabbed my attention, I delved deep into the Great Famine, Corn Laws, potatoes, and migration. I had heard about the famine in passing but never read much about it. One fact that stood out was that while millions starved, Ireland was still exporting food. In a prior famine, there was an export ban but they did not ban exports this time. This means that there was probably more than enough food in Ireland - it was just too expensive. What they did import, was also poorly distributed.

This Irish Freckle bread has potatoes, a staple food before and after the famine, along with raisins for freckles. I'm a huge fan of potato breads and this one did not disappoint. Unbelievably soft. I felt guilty about eating an entire bun (they're HUGE - about three times the size of a standard dinner roll) on a day when I did not exercise. But there's always tomorrow. I should note that most of the freckle breads that I saw were in loaf form. Taste of Home shaped them into these large buns and I loved the look so I went with this instead.

Thanks, Wendy, for an educational (and delicious) theme this month. I almost didn't participate but I am so glad that I did. Be sure to scroll down to see what the other bakers are serving up from Ireland.

P.S.: Check out this link from Cook's Illustrated about checking the temperature of your bread. Spoiler: Your bread can reach optimal temperature before it's baked.

Irish Freckle Bread
(adapted from Taste of Home)


390 - 480 grams flour (divided)
177 millilitres water (reserved from cooking the potato)
118 millilitres oil
90 grams sugar
53 grams potato, mashed
2 eggs
7 g instant yeast
140 grams raisins


Beat 240 grams of flour with the water, oil, sugar, potato, eggs and, yeast. Keep beating until smooth then add all the raisins and enough of the remaining flour to form a soft, tacky dough. Knead until cohesive.

Cover and let rise overnight in the refrigerator or at room temperature until doubled.

After the dough has risen, grease a 10" springform pan. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Shape each into a ball and place in the pan. Cover and let rise until doubled (~ 30-45 minutes).

Before the dough has doubled, preheat the oven to 350 F.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the bread is golden and the internal temperature has reached 200 F.

  • Mashed potatoes can have varying water content; Pay attention to this so you don't end up with an extremely sticky loaf. If it is rather sticky, doing a cold rise will be helpful. Also, oil your hands when shaping the dough.


#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to

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  1. I love potato bread too and would really enjoy this bread.

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed the theme. I too, love learning of other cultures through food.

  3. What a lovely and tasty looking bread. Potato breads have the best texture.

  4. What a lovely breakfast this would be!

  5. I just love the name of this bread! And I also love potato breads. Yours looks fantastic! :)

  6. Now you have me so curious about the potato famine and that whole import export business. And the corn laws. Your bread looks wonderful, and now I'm off to Google-land for a history lesson =)

  7. Love the crown shape of the freckle bread. I loved the way the freckle bread turned out and the toasted one tasted as delicious.

  8. Hello Kelster, your bread rolls look so perfectly baked and beautiful. The crumb looks soft. And, loved reading the history.

  9. I love pull apart rolls and these look so pretty. The crumb looks perfect!

  10. That's a beautiful bread. Love the freckles a LOT :-)