Like clockwork, every March brings the craving for bread. And not just any ole bread, but soda bread: a hearty peasant loaf perfected in all its simple goodness by the Irish. Soda bread is the bread lover’s miracle loaf. Minimal kneading, no proofing (no yeast) and a mere hour later — two, if you can bear to allow the honey oat soda bread loaf to properly cool, which I never can — a fresh, hearty slice of savory goodness, topped with cultured butter, is yours for the taking.
I’m sure the timing of St. Patrick’s Day and Irish soda bread cravings is completely coincidental, but past soda bread posts on my blog confirm that it’s a reliable March thing for me:
I can’t help it. Like scones, soda bread is just too ridiculously easy not to make, even when you trick it out a bit, like I’ve done here.
Healthy, Delicious Honey Oat Soda Bread
This loaf substitutes a good portion of all-purpose flour for oat and whole wheat flours. The healthier grains produce a nutty flavor profile that’s simply a joy to eat. And local honey, harvested by a beekeeper only two miles from my home, adds a hint of smooth sweetness that blends so well with the grains.
If you’re new to bread baking, try this honey oat soda bread: it’s more satisfying than the typical quick bread without the time commitment of a yeast bread.
Consider yourself warned, though. Once sampled — bread from your own hand — you’ll never look at commercial bread with the same longing again.
- 2 cups oat flour*
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/4 teaspoons fleur de sel (or 1 teaspoon table salt)
- 1 3/4 cups buttermilk
- 1 egg white
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1/4 cup chopped nuts and/or seeds of your choice (I used walnuts and sunflower seeds)
- Arrange rack in center of oven. Preheat to 400ºF.
- Whisk together flours, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add the honey and buttermilk and stir using a wooden spoon until just combined.
- Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly, about 10 turns, until it forms a relatively smooth ball. Place on a lightly floured baking sheet and shape into a round, flattening it slightly. Using a sharp knife or a lame, cut a deep X into the top of the loaf, taking care not to slice all the way through.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the water and egg white. Brush the top and sides of the dough with the egg white mixture. Sprinkle nuts and sunflower seeds on top.
- Bake for 30 minutes, then move tray to upper middle rack of oven and bake for 15 more minutes until the crust becomes a deep golden color and internal temperature registers 185ºF on an instant read thermometer. It should sound hollow when tapped with your knuckle. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool for at least an hour before slicing.
- *Make your own oat flour by grinding a little more than 2 cups of old fashioned rolled oats in a food processor until consistency is very fine. Then measure 2 cups oat flour for the recipe.