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No-Fuss Rosemary Clodagh Bread

An impressive addition to your holiday table that’s super simple to make.

This hearty bread bakes up with the heavenly scent of rosemary, a dense yet soft crumb, and a sturdy crust as impressive as one from an artisan bakery.

Best yet, there’s no fussing with yeast or hours of proofing time to let the dough rise.

“Rosemary Clodagh Bread” is a take on Irish soda bread. It’s from the new “Clodagh’s Suppers: Suppers to Celebrate the Seasons” (Kyle), of which I received a review copy. The book is by Clodaugh McKenna, chef and owner of the now-shuttered restaurant, Clodagh’s Kitchen in Dublin, who has been hailed as Ireland’s Rachael Ray for her breezy manner and approachable cooking.

The collection of one-page recipes definitely don’t intimidate yet they’re enticing enough to want to make for company. McKenna also helpfully includes themed menus to give you ideas on putting dishes together. Savor everything from “Maple & Harissa Chicken Wings with Tabbouleh” and “Irish Farmhouse Cheese Souffle” to “Roast Butternut Squash, Blue Cheese & Saffron Pappardelle” and “Plum Pudding Ice Cream.”

Winter holidays seem synonymous with soft rolls or biscuits. But imagine setting this stunner of a bread down on the table instead. It’s sure to wow guests who will never believe you made it so easily.

Mix the dough, shape, slash, then bake.

Just mix the bread and whole wheat flours together with baking soda, rosemary, sea salt, milk and yogurt. Shape the dough into a big round, slash the top, and bake for just under an hour. That’s it.

Irish soda bread may get attention once a year on St. Patrick’s Day. But a bread this good deserves to get its due far more often than that.

Slather on some butter, and pat yourself on the back for a loaf well made.

Rosemary Clodagh Bread

(Makes 1 loaf)

1 1/2 cups bread flour, plus extra for dusting

2 teaspoons baking soda

3 cups whole wheat flour

2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 1/2 cups milk

1 cup plain yogurt

Milk and yogurt mix, for brushing

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Sift the white flour and baking soda into a large mixing bowl and stir in the whole wheat flour, 1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh rosemary, and the sea salt. Using clean hands, mix the dry ingredients together and make a well in the center of the bowl.

Whisk together the yogurt and milk and slowly pour into the well of the dry ingredients. Use your free hand to mix the dough lightly, spreading your fingers far apart. Make sure there are no dry patches and that the dough is completely wet.

Pat your hands with flour and shape the dough into one round. Place on a floured baking sheet. Flour a large knife and cut the shape of a cross into the top of the dough about two thirds of the way through.

Brush the round of bread with the milk and yogurt mixture using a pastry brush — this will give a lovely golden color to the bread once baked — and sprinkle the remaining chopped rosemary on top.

Bake for 25 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees for another 25 minutes. To test whether the loaf is cooked, tap the bottom with your knuckles; it should sound hollow. Let cool on a cooling rack.

From “Clodagh’s Suppers” by Clodagh McKenna

More Holiday Breads To Enjoy: Cathead Biscuits

And: Honey-Glazed Spago Corn Bread

And: Overnight Soft Herb Rolls