In honor of National Bread Week, we're celebrating this Irish bread type that's so good, it's protected by the European Commission.
The blaa is a white bread roll protected under the European Commission. Yes! It’s that good.
This best Irish Blaa bread recipe was an adaption of the bread baked by the French Huguenots when they settled in Ireland.
This white doughy bread bun recipe is usually associated with Waterford but is currently made in County Waterford and Kilkenny and was historically made in Wexford. This much-loved roll is soft and covered in white flour.
It’s said that blaas were introduced to Waterford at the end of the 17th-century, by the Huguenots. The world “blaa” is said to be derived from the French word for white, “blanc,” but this theory is disputed.
Waterford people are obsessive about blaas so when you visit make sure to ask.
In fact, the Waterford people are so proud of their bread rolls that in 2013 the blaa was awarded Protected Geographical Indication status by the European Commission. This means that only a blaa actually made in Waterford can be called a blaa.
The most traditional way to pick up a blaa in Waterford is either as a breakfast blaa with rashers or a full Irish or with some red lead (a luncheon sausage). Of course, you could also try it with whatever sandwich filler you like but us Irish would recommend some ham or real Irish butter and some cheese and onion Tayto crisps (chips). Good lord.
Traditional Waterford blaa bread recipe
3 lbs bread flour
2 oz fresh yeast or 1 oz active dried yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water
2 1/4 pints water
1 tsp salt
Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water.
When the yeast is frothy and the sugar is dissolved add the mixture to the flour with salt and remaining water.
Knead for five minutes until smooth and elastic.
Put dough into a large oiled bowl and covered with oiled cling wrap and put in a warm place for about an hour or until doubled.
Punch dough down, cover, and leave to rise again for about a half hour.
Punch down again gently and turn out onto a floured board. Divide dough into 24 even sized buns, slightly flattened (approx 3 oz each) and place on a lightly floured baking sheet. Allow to rise at room temperature until double in size - 2 to 3 hours.
Heat oven 425°F (210°C). Dust rolls lightly with all-purpose flour and bake for about 15 minutes until or until they sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Ideally, rolls should not be too brown on top.
Read more: Brown bread as your mother made it
* Originally published in 2014.