Oatmeal Soda Bread

I had a request for a recipe this morning from Craig at WeGrowOurOwn and Alys Fowler for the recipe for my breakfast bread. It’s a really tasty, simple and quick oatmeal soda bread.

Oatmeal Soda Bread

The principle of soda bread is that the raising agent is bicarbonate of soda (hence the ‘soda’ in the name) which is alkali which reacts with the lactic acid in yoghurt to produce carbon dioxide gas to lift the loaf.

As a result, the key technique with making soda bread is to get the dough together quickly, shape it and pop it in the oven. It can also be cooked in a dutch oven over a fire. So soda bread is the original ‘no knead’ bread.

Fancy having a go? Read on…

Oatmeal Soda Bread Recipe

Ingredients for 1 large loaf

150g medium oatmeal

300g water

150g yoghurt

350g plain flour

2tsp bicarbonate of soda (or 1tbsp baking powder)

1tsp fine sea salt

Flour or oatmeal for sprinkling


This oatmeal soda bread has an extra stage to one made with just flour because the oatmeal needs to soak for a bit before you start mixing.

Mix the yoghurt with half of the water and put this in a bowl with the oatmeal or oats. Put this to one side to soak for an hour or so. The reason that I say to only put in half of the water is that I’ve had experience of the dough ending up too wet. The oats can absorb quite different amounts of liquid. The bread you see in the picture was too wet (I’d forgotten my own advice!) and so I ended up with more of a flat than a pert loaf. Taste is great still…

Alys made a loaf later in the day. It was the lovely pert shape mine should have been. Alys said on twitter:

“Oh @CarlLegge, it is good, truly fine. It is a loaf to fall in love with. I am quite smitten”

‘Nuff said, on we go…

Preheat your oven to 200°C.

Sieve the plain flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt into another bowl and mix.

Add the soaked oats and enough of the remaining water to make a stiff dough. Mix together quickly with a spatula and then your hands into a rough ball.

I put my loaf straight on to some Bake-o-glide on my bread peel. If you haven’t this, put onto a floured baking tray. Score the loaf in a cross about 80% of the way through which helps the loaf bake through evenly. Dust the top with some extra oatmeal.

Put in your oven and bake for about 30-40 minutes until the loaf is cooked through and sounds hollow when you tap its bottom.

Leave to cool on a wire rack if you like a crisp crust. If you’d like a soft crust, wrap the loaf in a tea-towel while it cools.

The loaf is great on its own, with butter, jam, cheeses, soups. It’s great toasted which is how I had it for breakfast with strawberry & elderflower jam.


There are loads of variations you can make on the basic recipe which is 500g solids (flour, oats etc) and 450g liquid (yoghurt, buttermilk, water). All you need to do is remember that you need the acid in the yoghurt or buttermilk to get the bread to rise.

You can use some wholemeal plain flour or wheatbran in replacement for the white flour.

I often add some dried mixed herbs to the bread when I’m making to go with a hearty winter soup.

You can add seeds (sunflower, poppy, sesame, pumpkin etc) or other soaked grains (quinoa, millet, buckwheat) for variations in flavour and texture.

Hope you enjoy. Let me know how you get on in the comments below.

Update 2nd November 2011 My friend Angela Garrod has been having fun experimenting with the recipe.

Ange substituted the plain flour for half and half  rye flour and wholemeal multi- seed flour.  She didn’t use any salt and said:

Just tasted ohhhhh 🙂

And here’s how fab it looked, thanks Ange…

Angela Garrod's Soda Bread
Angela Garrod’s Soda Bread






18 responses to “Oatmeal Soda Bread”

  1. […] You may also like my recipe for oatmeal soda bread. […]

  2. John Sharp Avatar
    John Sharp

    I tried the 50/50 rye and seeded mix last night and it came out well. I might add a little salt or herb next time.

    1. Carl Avatar

      John, that sounds very good, glad you enjoyed the recipe 🙂

  3. Carl Legge Avatar
    Carl Legge

    Hi Steve

    That one seems to have worked, welcome 🙂

    I'm not a gluten free expert although one of my followers is, so I will ask her.

    However, Doves Farm have a good range of gluten free products and a recipe for gluten free soda bread that you could use or adapt.

    See here Dove's Farm Gluten Free Bread

    I'll post another comment if I find out any more.


  4. Steve Avatar

    Oh bugger, my post didn't take first time.

    I am looking for a way to make this or some other soda bread gluten free. Do have any suggestion to substitute the plain flour with a gluten free version? Like what might work well.

  5. Carl Legge Avatar
    Carl Legge

    Hi Mitch

    Your coals need to grey ash with no flame. Preheat the dutch oven and you need about 2 briquette size coals per inch of diameter of your oven. Put 1/3rd underneath the oven, evenly spaced around the edge and 2/3rds on top, evenly spaced.

    Give the bottom of the oven a good flouring before you bake. And make sure the oven is properly cleaned and re-seasoned before you go.

    Good luck

  6. Mitch Avatar

    Off camping on a biodynamic farm for a week next week and we will be trying to cook on the fire every meal – will dust off dutch oven but never really got to grips with it… would you have a tip for cooking in dutch oven, the bottom gets so hot, things stick etc. This loaf could be perfect! If that is too big an ask don't worry I will hunt about on the web. I think I should practice in the garden this week. And re-season the oven after the last attempt.
    X Mitch

  7. Carl Legge Avatar
    Carl Legge

    Thanks Culinary Lens :)it's always a bit of a boost when professional cooks come by and comment. I've added your lovely blog to my blogroll.


  8. The Culinary Lens Avatar
    The Culinary Lens

    I have never tried oatmeal in soda bread. Just whole wheat and called it brown bread. "The original no knead bread" a perfect description..

  9. Carl Legge Avatar
    Carl Legge

    Hi Az

    Toasting grains does often improve the flavour.. Might try that as an extra step before the soak. Will let you know how it goes.

    Hope you enjoy if you do make.


  10. azélia Avatar

    Love the twist Carl…as you've seen me twitting my breakfast loaf with Oats & Dates, I toast the oats first giving off a gorgeous aroma throughout the whole time making the loaf, it's worth to make it just for that.

    Shame I can't make soda bread for us but will try it for husband.

  11. Carl Legge Avatar
    Carl Legge

    Hi Joanna

    It's easy to creat your own 'fashions' for favourite breads from time to time. At least it givs the the joy of re-discovering a bread again!

    Hope it works well for you, let me know how you get on.


  12. Joanna Avatar

    Hi Carl … I only bake soda bread in an emergency, and I try not to have those too often. Last week, for the first time in ages, I needed soda bread for breakfast, and used a recipe in Darina Allen's Forgotten whatever. I did all the important things, like not overworking the dough, and using great flour. But the result was so-so, and I like the sound of this so much that I'm going to bake it even though it's not yeasted. Somewhere on my blog there's a yeasted oat loaf I used to bake regularly, funny how you get out of the habit


  13. Carl Legge Avatar
    Carl Legge

    Hi Gregoire

    Dublin a lovely place to be. I studied there for a little while. Good craic!

    Love to know how you find the oat version.

    Thanks for popping by 🙂


  14. Gregoire Avatar

    When I lived in Dublin many years ago and discovered soda bread there… I love the whole wheat version, but the oat is a very interesting take on soda bread! Will try for sure! 😉

  15. Kaz (mrs.chutney) Avatar
    Kaz (mrs.chutney)

    Cheers Carl.


  16. Carl Legge Avatar
    Carl Legge


    Thanks for that reminder. I wrote it in, edited it and forgot to put it back.

    I've edited to show 200C.


  17. Kaz (mrs.chutney) Avatar
    Kaz (mrs.chutney)

    Hi Carl, what temp would you suggest for oven?