Monday, March 12, 2012

Brown Butter Irish Soda Bread

This Saturday is St. Patrick's Day. The day when everyone is Irish. While this Brave Astronaut is not one to partake of the whole Corned Beef and Cabbage thing, bread is another story. Here's a recipe for a particularly good looking soda bread (from Epicurious).

Brown Butter Soda Bread
Bon App├ętit | February 2006

Rosemary and black pepper make this bread anything but typical. Wedges are delicious with plenty of butter and your favorite preserves.

Yield: Makes 2 loaves

Ingredients
  • 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
Preparation
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.

Baker's Wisdom:
You'll get the most tender soda bread by kneading the dough gently and briefly, just until it comes together, so the gluten is minimally developed.