The Americanized Irish soda bread is the one I grew up with, and it’s the one I still prefer. Unfortunately when I asked my mom for the recipe the other day…she couldn’t find it. Though I didn’t veer too far from tradition with these recipes, I did make another variation of this bread with one of my other favorites – browned butter. Both recipes have a little sugar in them, but the browned butter version has black pepper and rosemary in it, which makes it a little more suitable for a dinner accompaniment in my opinion. The look of the browned butter loaf is more what I was going for, but the other loaf’s batter was so runny it was hard to work with. The husband and I enjoyed the flavor of both breads, but I’m sending them with him to school tomorrow – so we’ll let the high school teachers decide which one is better!
Brown Butter Soda Bread, makes 2 loaves
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.
Irish Soda Bread, adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe on www.foodnetwork.com
- 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for currants
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 3/4 cups cold buttermilk, shaken
- 1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is mixed into the flour.
With a fork, lightly beat the buttermilk, and egg together in a measuring cup. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture. The dough will be VERY runny.
Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and knead it a few times into a round loaf. Place the loaf on the prepared sheet pan and lightly cut an X into the top of the bread with a serrated knife. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. When you tap the loaf, it will have a hollow sound.
Cool on a baking rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.