Browned Butter Irish Soda Bread with Currants
I love baking and cooking for holidays. It encourages me to try new foods like Truffles for Valentines Day or Stuffing and Pumpkin Pie for Thanksgiving. I especially love holiday cooking when it involves other cultures. And what better way to celebrate St. Patty's Day than with a pint of your favorite beer Irish Soda Bread.
Irish Soda Bread is one of those recipes that I've been seeing like crazy all around the food blogging community. I've wanted to make it for several weeks now, amassing more than a handful of recipes.
Traditionally, soda breads use baking soda (hence the name) instead of yeast. This leads to a more dense, quick bread that goes really well with breakfast or soups and stews.
Also, lots of recipes use caraway seeds for added flavor. I love this addition, but I didn't have any on hand. Next time, I will definitely add them.
I really liked that this recipe uses browned butter. It is so fragrant and flavorful. I think it takes the bread up a notch.
When I had first heard of browning butter, I'll admit that I was a little intimidated. I suppose I thought I would burn it and completely ruin my recipe
But, it really is sooo easy. As long and you stir it often and watch it closely until it becomes fragrant and, well, brown; you will become a browned butter champ yourself!
I decided to add some flax meal to the original recipe for some extra fiber and omega yumminess. Flax meal also lends a slightly nutty flavor to the bread. I'm so glad I made the addition.
After incorporating the wet ingredients with the dry, you will have a shaggy dough ball. This is where you add the currents and lightly knead before baking.
I decided to reconstitute my currants in hot water before adding them to the bread. That way, when they baked up they were more juicy and they didn't pull any moisture out of the bread dough.
Basically all you do is boil them for a short amount of time in water until they have plumped up a bit. Allow them to drain and cool. You can then use them in the bread, or any baked good for that matter, and have a more moist final product.
Egg wash gives the loaves a gorgeous golden brown color and great crust. It's perfect to soak up the broth of an Irish or beef stew.
In less than 45 minutes, these baked up into golden little wonders.
In less than an hour, one loaf was devoured.
In less than a day, another loaf was inhaled.
It's probably best that I'm not Irish or I would be eating this bread allllll the time.
Make this for all your Irish friends. Actually forget them, make this for yourself ;)
Browned Butter Irish Soda Bread with Currants lightly adapted from Recipe Girl
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup oats
- 2 tablespoons flax meal
- 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 3/4 cups buttermilk
- 1/2 cup dried currants
- 1 egg, beaten
- white or turbinado sugar, for sprinkling
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
2. Melt the butter in small saucepan over medium heat until melted and golden brown, stirring often (It will brown very quickly once it heats up), 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and set it aside to cool.
3. In a small sauce pan heat 1-1/2 to 2 cups of water and currants over medium high heat. Let boil for about 2 minutes or until the currants appear to have soaked up some of the water. Remove from heat, drain, and set aside to cool. This helps to have nice, plump currants in your bread, but you can omit this step.
4. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, oats, flax meal, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in the brown butter and buttermilk until the flour mixture is moistened and comes together.
5. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface. Sprinkle the currants on top and knead them gently into the dough until the dough comes together, about 7 turns. Divide the dough in half. Shape each half into ball, and lightly flatten each into 6-inch round. Place the rounds on ungreased baking sheet, spacing 5 inches apart. Use a knife to cut a 1/2-inch deep "X" in the top of each round of dough. Brush the tops with the egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar.
6. Bake the loaves until they turn deep golden brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 to 45 minutes. Cool breads on rack at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with honey or butter.