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Barbara Rathbone’s Soda Bread

Updated: Mar 31, 2020

A lot of musicians I know are great jam makers (myself included) so this is my Irish soda bread recipe, heavenly with a knob of salted butter and fresh jam. It’s an incredibly nostalgic flavour for those of us with Hibernian roots and it’s so easy to make. We had a thatched cottage in the ‘wild west’ of Ireland in County Galway when I was a child and I first started making soda bread then in a rather old Aga oven from my Gran’s recipe, which I’ve adapted since to include honey. It’s great for those with yeast intolerance too. Adding sugar, I have to say, really does improve it!


500mg wholemeal flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp sweet honey

500ml buttermilk

A small handful of large oats

A drizzle (approx 25g) of melted butter

Set oven to gas 6. Put the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and gradually mix in the honey and buttermilk. Bind the dough and form a cob shape on a well floured surface and then place on a greased baking tray. Sprinkle on the oats followed by melted butter (this gives a lovely crust). Make a cross on the top with large knife.

Bakes in about 35-40 minutes.

Eat fresh ideally but it freezes really well.

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