Sourdough adventures – soda bread

With St Patrick’s Day occurring this month, it seemed logical to make soda bread. Soda bread is typically moist, dense, and a little crumbly. It is a rather low gluten bread (since it typically relies on buttermilk and baking powder instead of yeast), so here the sourdough will play more of a flavoring role than a leavening agent.

soda bread 01 final

I adapted two recipes for this one to make a totally dairy-free version, with no fat or refined sugar. With no buttermilk, the acid needed to react with the baking soda comes entirely from the sourdough starter. I was worried when I put it in the oven because it was a small, fairly hard ball of dough, but it almost tripled in volume in the oven!

A nice balance of sweet and tangy, with bursts of fruit and crunchy nuts – another perfect cup-of-tea bread.

soda bread 02

Makes one 860g (about 30oz) loaf


340g (2 1/2 cups) flour
1 tsp baking (bicarb) soda
1/2 tsp salt
120g (1 cup) currants
50g (1/2 cup) roughly chopped walnuts
240g (1 cup) fed 100% hydration starter
120ml (1/2 cup) water
4 tbsp honey


Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F) and lightly flour a baking sheet.

Whisk the baking soda and salt into the flour, then toss through the currants and walnuts, making sure the currants are coated in flour – this will ensure they stay evenly distributed through the loaf.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the starter, water and honey. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until combined. Add a dash more water if needed for the dough to come together.

Turn dough out and knead together lightly, pushing back in any currants or nuts that come out.

Form dough into a slightly flattened ball and place on baking sheet. Using a sharp knife, cut a 1cm (about 1/2″) deep cross in the top.

Bake in centre of oven for about 30 – 35 minutes, until deep golden and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped underneath.

Cool on a wire rack.


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25 Responses to Sourdough adventures – soda bread

  1. mtg101 says:

    Wow that’s got a lovely light texture — I’m very impressed!

  2. Robyn says:

    I love soda bread with currants, this one looks delicious!

  3. Wow, awesome job! Your soda bread looks awesome, and very delicious!

  4. SeattleDee says:

    Tripled in volume?! wow, that’s one creative, peppy loaf. It looks and sounds terrific.

  5. Kelster says:

    Tripled? Wow! Love that you used nuts. Looks great!

  6. This looks great! And that bead knife is awesome.

  7. Varada says:

    The bread looks awesome. Using sourdough starter in place of buttermilk, learn something new everyday.

  8. turnips 2 tangerines says:

    Wow! Great job! Next time adding nuts to my bread, they always add a nice flavor:) Lynn @ Turnips 2 Tangerines

  9. Perfect photos! Live the fruit – would be a nice afternoon tea addition.

  10. Beautiful photos! Your dairy-free and low fat loaf looks great!

  11. Agos says:

    Yummy! I love that you added nuts.

  12. Beautiful bread Rachael!
    I love the fact that it is dairy free and refined sugar free as well.
    I am pinning this recipe to try it soon, I think that using a fed starter and relying on it must add so much to the recipe

  13. I Love soda bread! I am so impressed you made this without dairy!

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