I wanted to post this recipe in time for St. Patrick's Day, but this is such a great bread that I hope you'll forgive me for being late on the delivery. (And for all those other important holidays and occasions I've missed lately.)
To be honest, I don't usually like soda bread. It can be dry and sort-of stale tasting, and I have a frosty relationship with both caraway seeds and raisins. The great thing about soda bread, though, is that is allows you to undertake a bread-baking project minus the yeast. And as someone who hasn't yet given up her fear of yeasted doughs, that can be very appealing.
So, I bring you this perfect compromise - a soda bread, but with flavors I can really get on board with. Brown butter, rosemary, black pepper. Oh yes, it's as delicious as it sounds. The bread has that wholesome goodness from the oats, with a richness and sophistication from the brown butter and rosemary. The final topping of fresh ground black pepper and the egg wash makes for a golden brown, slightly spicy crust. I love everything about it.
Brown Butter Soda Bread
Bon Appetit (February 2006) via Caviar and Codfish
Makes one loaf
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
- 1 1/2 tsp. sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary (I've used dried in a pinch, but fresh is much better.)
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- Scant 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 egg white, beaten
Preheat oven to 375°F. Stir butter in 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 black 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. Shape into ball; flatten into 6-inch round. Place round on ungreased baking sheet; brush top with beaten egg white. Sprinkle lightly with ground black pepper. Using small sharp knife, cut 1/2-inch-deep X in top of dough.
Bake until deep golden brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.