Quick, easy soda bread

Bread baking has experienced a renaissance in recent years, everything from basic varieties to more time-consuming sourdough.

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Bread baking has experienced a renaissance in recent years, everything from basic varieties to more time-consuming sourdough.


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There’s an often overlooked category, referred to as “quick” bread, that requires no yeast and can be prepared with minimal fuss.

The recipe for Irish wheaten bread is my absolute favourite quick bread. I’ve been making this bread for years and never tire of its simplicity, dense texture and flavour.

Wheaten breads usually are made with a combination of white and whole wheat flours. The leavening agent is baking soda, often combined with baking powder. This bread also gets flavour and a unique texture from the use of buttermilk.

Serve it warm from the oven, with another of my favourites, leek and potato soup.

This week, I’ve added peas to the recipe to make it a lovely green for St. Paddy’s Day.


(Makes 1 large loaf)

2 cups (500 ml) whole wheat flour

1 cup (250 ml) all-purpose flour

1/2 cup (125 ml) rolled oats

1 1/2 tsp. (7 ml) salt

1 tsp. (5 ml) baking soda

1 tsp. (5 ml) baking powder

3 tbsp. (45 ml) butter, cut into small bits

1 1/2 cups (375 ml) buttermilk

3 tbsp. (45 ml) water

In large bowl, combine flours, oats, salt, baking soda and powder. Work butter into dry mixture using your fingertips. Add buttermilk and water and combine.

Turn dough onto well-floured surface and knead lightly for minute or two. Form into round loaf about 3 inches (7.5 cm) high. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet and cut an X in middle surface with a sharp knife. Place in preheated 425F (220C) oven for 15 minutes.


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Reduce heat to 375F. (190F) and bake 30-40 minutes more until bread is light golden.


(Serves 6 -8)

1 lb. (500g) leeks (about 3 medium leeks)

3 tbsp. (45 ml) butter

1 cooking onion, chopped

1 rib celery, finely sliced

2 Russet potatoes, peeled and diced

*3 cups (750 ml) water or chicken stock

1/2 cup (125 ml) frozen peas, thawed

2 cups (500 ml) milk (3%) or cream (35%)

chopped chives

Trim coarse green portion of leeks and discard.

Cut leeks in half lengthwise, leaving bulb end intact and clean well under running water. Shake off excess moisture and slice leeks thinly, discarding root end when you get to it. In stock pot, melt butter over medium-high heat. Cook leeks, onion and celery about 5 minutes until soft.

Add potatoes and water (or stock). Bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook about 25 minutes or until potatoes are soft.

Stir in peas. Add milk (or cream) and return to bare simmer. Season with salt and white pepper to taste.

Puree with immersion blender. Ladle into bowls and garnish with chives.

Serve immediately with warm soda bread.

*If you choose to use water, this soup is suitable for vegetarians.

Editor’s note: Back by popular demand, the Londoner is reprinting a selection of Jill Wilcox’s recipes. This one was originally published March 17, 2018. Enjoy!

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