This wonderful recipe was suggested by my friend Joanna. I liked the idea of adding rosemary, fresh black pepper and browned butter to this quick bread base to create a decidedly non traditional version.
The end result of the recipe was wonderful. A few notes: I found that my dough was quite wet after following the instructions, so I ended up adding about half a cup more flour than the original recipe calls for. Be sure to have a some extra flour on hand so that you can get the texture just right. You want a moist dough that just comes together in your hands. I didn't knead this bread at all. I simply mixed the dough in the bowl until it formed a smooth ball and then formed the loaves.
Rosemary, Black Pepper & Brown Butter Soda Bread
Adapted from Bon Appetit
1/4 C butter
3 1/2 C flour, plus 1/2 C
1/2 C old-fashioned oats
1 Tbl sugar
1 Tbl fresh rosemary, chopped
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
1 3/4 C buttermilk
Place a baking stone in your oven and preheat oven to 375F. (Don't worry if you don't have a baking stone, you can simply use an ungreased baking sheet. Don't place it in the oven as it heats. If you'd like a baking stone, check out this great post on making your own for $3.)
Melt butter in skillet over medium heat and cook until golden brown and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the buttermilk and butter. Mix well and add the buttermilk and butter. Mix until the dough comes together in a smooth ball. Add more flour if you need it (I did). Form dough into two rounds with your hands and transfer to the baking stone or baking sheet. Using a sharp knife, cut an "X" in the top of each loaf - about 1/2 an inch deep.
Bake until breads are a deep golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center -- about 45 minutes. Allow to cool for a least 30 minutes before slicing. Serve with plenty of high quality butter.