I have been wanting to try making a Soda Bread for a while now. Every year, I’d keep on thinking that I’d make one for St. Patrick’s Day – but then, time just flew! And then I never get around to making it. This year, I decided that I have to try it. I was going to go with an original Irish Soda Bread – but this recipe where it calls for the butter to be browned is just way too good to pass up. I can’t never resist the nutty flavors that browned butter adds to any type of dishes, so I definitely welcomed that flavor in this bread as well. This was pretty easy to put together, turned out great even without fresh herbs and makes two smaller loaves, so you can serve both, or save one for later. They are wonderful fresh out of the oven without anything. Their rustic texture is even better toasted with a thick slab of salted butter and homemade jam. I was actually surprised that my toddler gobbled this up.
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper plus additional for topping
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
1 egg white, beaten to blend
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Stir butter in heavy small saucepan over medium heat until melted and golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
Stir flour, oats, sugar, rosemary, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper in large bowl to blend. Pour buttermilk and melted browned butter over flour mixture; stir with fork until flour mixture is moistened.
Turn dough out onto floured work surface. Knead gently until dough comes together, about 7 turns. Divide in half. Shape each half into ball; flatten each into 6-inch round.
Place rounds on ungreased baking sheet, spacing 5 inches apart. Brush tops with beaten egg white. Sprinkle lightly with ground black pepper. Using small sharp knife, cut 1/2-inch-deep X in top of each dough round.
Bake breads until deep golden brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool breads on rack at least 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Yield: 2 loaves
Adapted from Epicurious