Recipe: Irish soda bread with dill

Scoring a cross in the top of the bread is an old Irish superstition, which was said to 'let out the fairies', but in practical terms it lets the loaf cook through evenly.

Bread alert: Serve your soda bread with Irish smoked salmon

Bread alert: Serve your soda bread with Irish smoked salmon



  • 250g (9oz) wholemeal flour
  • 250g (9oz) plain flour
  • 50g (1¬ĺoz) bran flakes
  • 100g (3¬Ĺoz) porridge oats
  • 4tbsp finely chopped dill
  • 500ml (18fl oz) buttermilk
  • 2tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 45g (1¬Ĺoz) unsalted butter, diced


Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6. Place the flours, bran flakes, porridge oats, dill and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl, then rub in the butter.

Pour in the buttermilk and mix it in quickly with a butter knife, then bring the dough together very lightly with your fingertips handling it extremely gently, until well mixed.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and shape the dough into a flat, round loaf, measuring about 22cm (8¬Ĺin) in diameter.

Put the loaf on a lightly floured baking sheet and score a deep cross in the top. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. If it isn't ready after this time, turn it upside down on the baking sheet and bake for a few minutes more.

Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool. Break into quarters and cut into thick slices, buttered thickly. Serve with Irish smoked salmon and wedges of lemon.

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