Welcome to Abbey Bread, award-winning  Yeast Bread Mix inspired by the Bread Making Tradition at Mount St Joseph Abbey,  Roscrea.

Ireland's First Wholemeal Yeast Bread Mix

Manus Heenan, Terryglass, Co Tipperary and Cistercian College Roscrea

email: manus@abbeybread.ie

Tel: 087 3823999

Making your own Abbey Bread

'Bring the Tradition Home'

  • Pour the mix into a mixing bowl, stir well and add 650 ml of warm water. 
  • Using dough hook fitting (or similar) in electric mixer  and mix/knead for 5 mins until the dough is soft and a little sticky. This can also be done by hand for 10 mins.

  • With a spatula, turn out dough onto greased baking tray and cover with a tea towel
  • Leave for 30 mins in warm place (25 degrees C - 28 degrees C) to activate yeast. 
  • Remove tea towel and divide mixture in two with a knife.

  • Taking each piece of dough separately, flour your hands and tray. Knead each piece of dough by rotating and pushing away with the heel of your hand, or by folding in and stretching the dough the outside into the centre. 
  • Turn your dough upside down to reveal a dome shaped loaf with a smooth surface.
 (if you wish to make bread rolls; divide each piece of dough into 12 pieces and shape into ball shaped rolls)
  • Cover and place in warm area for 30 mins before
  • Remove towel and sieve some flour lightly over each loaf
  • Using a sharp knife dipped in water, cut a cross firmly and steadily about 1cm deep into each loaf 
  • Place in a preheated fan oven at 220 degrees for 30 mins or non fan oven at 240 degrees for 40 mins

  • Wearing oven gloves, remove hot crusty loaves carefully from oven, turn upside down and tap for a hollow sound
  • Cut and enjoy after 15 mins

  • Eat within two days for freshness or slice and freeze when cool
  • Enjoy with savoury or sweet toppings, fresh or toasted!
  • On bag of Abbey Bread mix will make one large loaf, two standard or four small loaves, or 24 bread rolls!
Why not post photos of your own Abbey Bread on our Facebook or Twitter pages!

The Story!

Abbey Bread Yeast Mix is based on the original recipe used for over 100 years and I think it has the unique taste and flavour to rival the original!  
I would like to thank the Monastic Community at MSJ for its support with this project, with special thanks to Brothers Malachy, John and Oliver for being so generous with their time and encouragement.

Brother Oliver and Brother John sadly passed away in 2019, it was a privilege to work with them in bringing their work and craft to a new generation.

The tradition of yeast bread making in Mount St Joseph dates back to 1896 when the first loaves were baked by Brothers Robert and Philip with stoneground flour produced in the nearby mill, also owned by the monks. The value of manual work and self sufficiency in the local economy is central to the Benedictine ethos and therefore the baking and sale of bread fitted in with this. The Rule of St Benedict states:
"When they live by the labour of their hands...then they are truly monks" 
Baked in a purpose built, turf fired oven, bread making continued on a daily basis until 2010. The last monks to bake the bread were Brothers John and Oliver, who still reside in the Monastery. At its peak, over 200 loaves a day were produced and the bread had a loyal following among students and the local community. Many people still have fond memories of these beautiful loaves with a crisp crust!
As a student of Cistercian College Roscrea, I am very aware of the importance of the Monastic tradition and heritage.  I decided to create this bread mix to honour this tradition and to allow it an opportunity to continue in a different format.

I hope you enjoy your Abbey Bread as much as I have enjoyed developing and creating the product.

As well as the monks in Mount St Joseph Abbey, I have to thank Catherine Leyden and Susan Ziaden, Odlums Research Team as well as Tony Kane, Bakery Services Manager and Graham Tighe, Master Baker at Odlums,  who helped me refine the product and allowed me to experience a commercial bakery in Portarlington. Packaging and printing supplies were made possible by Walsh Printing and Walsh Packaging.  Logo design was with Ute Duggan.  Also a big thank you to my parents for their help and support and to Catherine Smith, my TY Co-ordinator.

The photos for this slideshow were given to me by the following: Brother Oliver from his personal collection and his copy of An Fiolar, Brother Malachy  and also Paul Davey, Milltown Garden Centre and Pastman CCR

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