Fruit & spice soda bread

Fruit & spice soda bread

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(9 ratings)

Prep: 30 mins Cook: 35 mins


Makes one large loaf enough for 8
A traditional Irish loaf that uses bicarbonate of soda instead of yeast - this version is sweetly spiced with fruit and oats

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal405
  • fat5g
  • saturates2g
  • carbs79g
  • sugars41g
  • fibre5g
  • protein10g
  • salt0.6g
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  • 100g rolled porridge oat
  • 25g butter, diced



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 200g plain flour
  • 200g plain wholemeal flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
    Bicarbonate of soda

    Bicarbonate of soda

    Bicarbonate of soda, or baking soda, is an alkali which is used to raise soda breads and full-…

  • 1½ tsp mixed spice
  • 50g raisin
  • 50g sultana
  • 50g stoned date, finely chopped



    Dates are one of the oldest cultivated fruits - it's thought that they were a staple part of…

  • 3 tbsp mixed peel
  • 450ml buttermilk
  • 3-4 tbsp demerara sugar


  1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Whizz the porridge oats and butter together in a food processor, or rub the butter into the oats with your fingertips in a big bowl. Stir in the flours, caster sugar, bicarb, mixed spice, 1 tsp salt, the raisins, sultanas, dates and mixed peel.

  2. Pour over the buttermilk and quickly stir in with a round-bladed knife. Tip out onto a flour-dusted surface and gently bring together into a ball with your hands. Transfer to a flour-dusted baking sheet and scatter over the demerara sugar, pressing it into the top. Use a sharp, flour-dusted knife to cut a big cross in the top and bake for 30-35 mins until crusty on the outside. Eat warm or cold, thickly sliced, with butter.

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Comments (21)

Zelda247's picture

Please don't use 100g of Sugar its WAY TOO SWEET. I would say max 40g. Otherwise its a lovely bread.

jayjayem's picture

That'll teach me to read reviews. Putting in 450ml buttermilk made this really sloppy. I would go with 400ml next time. Consequently my bread ended up looking like a very large cushion. Tasted ok though.

amp1043's picture

I really like this. I use about 35g of sugar and 400ml of buttermilk. I've recently started making it with 2 grated apples, 100g of raisins and one and a half teaspoons of cinnamon and am very happy with the result. It takes about 45 minutes to cook. I'd describe as in between cake and bread! And it also keeps well.

jdonnellan's picture

I used 400 rather than 450ml of buttermilk and did have to keep dusting the outside of with flour so that I could work with it. But the results were great.
What an easy, delicious fruit loaf. I just used the dried fruits I had in the cupboard-sultanas and figs--which worked perfectly!

bowdenei's picture

I totally agree with the person who said it way too wet and sticky!! I did use real buttermilk too, but had to add a lot of flour to stop coujon fingers. It is baking now so we will see the outcome. Also there was no suggestions on the dimensions of the bread, either in diameter or height so just had to guess. Will return with the final result

cahoughton's picture

Does anyone know where it is possible to buy real buttermilk as they have in Ireland? I know they have the cartons in the supermarkets now but I remember proper containers of buttermilk when I was younger but cannot find them over here. I currently sour my mlk with lemon juice.

Thanks, Carol

marian tallon's picture

Lidl and Aldi as well as Tesco in Ireland always have buttermilk. have you tried their UK stores.

stonefruit's picture

I sometimes use ordinary live yoghurt for soda breads, and it works.

katysj77's picture

Really delicious and kind of a cross between a spiced fruit scone & and a rock cake! Quite a wet mixture but as someone said earlier, handle minimally and just get it looking rustic and round and into the oven. Cooked in 40 mins so a little longer than they said. Used dried apricots instead of dates & threw in a handful of cranberries with sultanas & currants. Only used 2 tbsp of sugar on top and was more than enough. Very scrummy, will definitely do it again.

bluenosegra's picture

This is one of the most delicious and easy to make cakes ever,and I make one at least once a week. mmmmm

gfmcmillan's picture

Delicious, freezes well, I sometimes make 2 cakes out of the mixture, one to eat and one to freeze. Doesn't need the extra sugar on top as it can make it a little sweet.

crosscat's picture

Really simple, and it tastes fantastic! been enjoying it for breakfast with butter, tastes amazing!

amp1043's picture

Very happy with this bread. Agree with the other comments - a bit less sugar and a bit longer in the oven. Also, I use slightly less milk.

43cooks's picture

A wonderful recipe, tasty and really delicious, even my husband likes it and he usually avoids anything at all sweet! We couldn't get enough of it so it is to become a "regular" in our house.

fay_fife's picture

Very nice! I might put more spice in next time though. I baked it in my fan oven for 35 minutes and it turned out quite well. I only put two tablespoons of sugar on the top and felt that was more than enough, and I didn't have any dates so I used half and half sultanas and mixed dried fruit to make up the same mass. I will definitely make this again.

xpinkiix's picture

Lovely recipe but agree with the timings mine took a lot longer too but was worth it when it came out.

andiet's picture

cazaroonie I haven' tried this recipe but have made soda bread before and my dough was quite wet and sticky as well. Soda bread isn't like regular bread with yeast and the trick is not to handle it too much but I'm no expert. Hope this helps.

caznpad04's picture

It turned out ok(ish) in the end. Needed longer cooking time though, around 50-55 mins.

caznpad04's picture

I've just made this and followed the recipe to the letter. My dough was quite wet and sticky and a nightmare to handle, did I go wrong?

fluffysammy's picture

just waiting for mine to cool, and have eatten a corner of it and its yummy i will def add this to my binder to make again and again. i agree with McNosh it did need 50 mins


Questions (2)

Emily_22's picture

Could i use regular semi-skimmed milk instead of buttermilk??

stonefruit's picture

Live yoghurt is better, as milk won't have the required acidity.

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