Today, everyone is Irish. If not, it’s a great excuse to pretend to be Irish and get yourself down to the local pub. Even the French (who have a majority stake in cultural elitism) let their guard down on St. Patties Day and celebrate little green leprechauns everywhere.
I have a little recipe for you in honor of your Irish heritage. No, it’s not the secret recipe for a perfect pint of Guinness Stout or how to make your beer green (green food coloring+beer) or how to make your pee green for that matter (drink many pints of green beer). I’m making Irish Soda Bread.
This traditional table bread can be made hundreds of different ways but always includes a few main ingredients: white or wheat flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk. The lactic acid in buttermilk reacts with the baking soda to form carbon dioxide–causing the dough to rise without the addition of yeast. I’m using a secret recipe with a not so secret ingredient. Little leprechauns everywhere are screaming “They’re after me lucky charms” now that I’m letting you in on the secret. The secret to making phenomenal soda bread is…browned butter.
This recipe from Bon Appétit mixes traditional soda bread ingredients with less traditional ones like brown butter, old fashioned oats, rosemary, and black pepper. The result is a heaven sent block of bread that is as good with an afternoon pint as it is with breakfast.
Brown Butter Soda Bread–Bon Appétit February 2006
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter
- 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup old fashioned oats (Quaker Oats for example)
- 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
- 1 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 egg white, beaten
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Stir butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until melted and golden brown, around 3 minutes (it will have an intoxicating nutty aroma).
Stir flour, oats, sugar, rosemary, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pepper to combine in a large bowl. Pour browned butter and buttermilk in bowl and stir until all of the ingredients are moistened.
Gently knead dough on floured working surface for about 6-7 turns (you don’t want to overdevelop gluten in flour). Cut dough in half, shape into a ball. Flatten dough into 6 inch diameter rounds, brush egg white on top, sprinkle with a little more ground pepper. Using a small knife, cut a 1/2 inch deep “X” on top of rounds.
Bake until bread is deliciously golden brown and a knife cuts through the center cleanly. Let cool for 30 minutes (if you can wait that long) and serve warm with butter, jam, or beer!