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Alan's Awesome Soda Bread

Alan's Awesome Soda Bread

If there ever was a must-eat bread that did not require any kneading, then this is it. In his soda bread recipe a good friend has presented us with a gift that will keep on giving. I am not new to soda bread, but perhaps I had just not had soda bread of real quality previously, so until now I never truly appreciated the delights it had to offer. Alan, I am a convert. The Bethnal Greens thank you, sir.

Traditional soda bread is pretty straightforward and requires only four ingredients: buttermilk, flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt. This, however, is a bit jazzed up, and the loaf made here has some of the distinctly more contemporary ingredients (nut milk being a less common of the traditional Irish cooking and baking ingredients) and a lovely mixture of seeds making this loaf a little fancier than its standard Irish cousin. The changes, in my view, do not make it any less authentic, only tastier.

If the ingredients are ready, then this loaf should take an hour from measuring the ingredients to sitting on the table all steaming and delicious. This is home-made bread for the busy non-baker. Easy, minimal mess, no particular skill or muscle needed, and very rewarding. We are definitely planning to teach Little Boy Green how to make this. He'll enjoy the mess and the sticky dough and, hey, making bread is a life skill, right? One day, might he not wake up early in the morning, bake a loaf, and bring some upstairs to bed for mummy and daddy with some coffee and the paper? Before he turns thirty?

Making this loaf for the first time really felt like a sloppy mess, but as evident in the photo above, the result of the sloppy mess turned out to be a delicious, soft, crusty, and satisfying loaf. By the second time I made it (please see video below), it felt natural. I am still smiling at how easy it was to prepare. It is real tearing and sharing bread - the first loaf was finished within five or six hours of emerging out of the oven.

This bread is versatile, we had the first loaf with a wholesome vegetable soup and the second with some Raw Chia Seed Jam. Tonight, we tore some into Little Boy Green's tomato soup for a quick alternative to pasta or rice. Soda bread lends itself so well to accompany soups and anything saucy, the denseness of the bread allows for a good soaking without it falling apart. So, dinner party tip: if looking to impress, make this to go with a nice stew, rather than wasting time on making a fancy pudding. Just buy something sweet and delicate from a trusted patisserie, and let all the talk be about the bread.  


  • 1 cup (150g) spelt flour
  • 1 cup (150g) wholewheat flour
  • 1 cup (150g) white flour
  • 3 tbsp (25g) sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp (10g) pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbsp (10g) sunflower seeds
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 1 2/3 cup (400ml) soya or almond/nut milk
  • 2 tblsp apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)

`Method: (see video below)

  • Preheat oven to 230C
  • Place the milk into a bowl and stir in the vinegar. Let sit for 5 minutes to develop a curdle
  • Mix remaining ingredient in a seperate large bowl
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well. Tip the dough out onto a floured baking sheet and shape, but do not knead.
  • Score an X about an inch deep into the laof
  • Bake at 230C for 10 minutes
  • Reduce heat and bake a further 25 minute at 200C
  • Allow to cool before tearing apart and devouring
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