Vanessa Kimbell - Caraway Soda Bread

There are days you just don't get a moment to bake. This recipe for soda bread is one of the fastest baking tricks on the planet. I challenge anyone to take more than five minutes flat to get it into the oven. Make no mistake: the speed of making it doesn't mean you're compromising on the taste. On the contrary, the pace of its creation should be counterbalanced by the speed to eat it – which really is best soon after baking.

It's a perfect one to make if you've nothing in the house for breakfast. In minutes the kitchen is filled with the smell of fresh baking and the air with aromatic caraway. As you slice the crunchy crust you will notice that the warm dough is dense. It has a solid satisfying eat to it. Still warm, dripping with butter and smothered in plum jam for me it is best served with a good, strong cup of hot tea whilst listening to radio four.

Makes 1 good-size loaf
Prep time 4 minutes
Cooking time 25 minutes
Suitable for freezing? Yes, as soon as it is cool from the oven

  • 500g of plain flour
  • 11/2 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1tbsp caraway seeds
  • 450ml buttermilk
  1. Preheat the oven to190˚C/gas mark 5 a good 10 minutes before you start making the bread.
  2. Sift all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl
  3. Add the buttermilk. Mix well but don't overmix. It will go claggy and heavy if handled too much.
  4. Turn the bread out into a lightly oiled bread tin.
  5. Bake in the oven for approximately 25-30 minutes. Check to see whether the loaf is baked by slipping a knife into the centre. If it comes out clean, then it is done; if not, then return it to the oven for another 5 minutes and check again. When the loaf is baked all the way though it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
  6. Serve warm from the oven.


  • Soak a tablespoon of dried lavender in warm buttermilk for 15 minutes and add to the dough with 3 tbsp of extra sugar for a sweetened lavender bread.
  • Add the zest of 2 lemons and 2 tablespoons of poppy seeds for a lemon and poppy seed loaf.
  • Make into a savoury soda bread tea loaf by adding 100g of raisins.
  • Double the recipe to freeze a batch

Recipe and image kindly supplied by Vanessa Kimbell