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Blog · Food & Recipes

Soda Bread - Live Life Cook

Soda Bread is a type of quick bread made using flour, baking soda and buttermilk. It's denser than your typical loaf and gets the rise from the reaction between the baking soda and the acids in buttermilk, rather than using yeast. There are many variations on the recipe, but I have created one using some nutrient packed ingredients including wholemeal flour, walnuts, chia seed and oats.

Soda bread, pairs perfectly with most savory dishes and great with cheese too or on its own with a healthy spattering of butter or jam. It’s delicious.

As it is a quick bread and uses ingredients that are always on hand, you can throw together a delicious nutrient packed loaf in no time.
The bread can be stored at room temperature for two to three days as well.

I hope you enjoy this recipe, as this is one of my favourites. I learnt to make in Ireland when working in two renowned Restaurants, where soda bread was made every day.


  • 400g wholemeal flour
  • ¼ cup rolled oats
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbs pumpkin seeds
  • 2tbs sun flour seeds
  • 80g chopped walnuts
  • 2tbs chia seeds
  • 350 mls buttermilk
  • 2 tbs olive oil


1. Preheat the oven to 200C

2. Tip the flour, salt, all seeds and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl and stir.

3. Make a well in the centre and pour in the buttermilk, and olive oil mixing quickly with to form a soft dough. (Depending upon the absorbency of the flour, you may need to add a little milk if the dough seems too stiff but it should not be too wet or sticky.)

4. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly.

5. Form into a round and flatten the dough slightly before placing on a lightly floured baking sheet.

6. Cut a cross on the top and bake for about 30 minutes or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack.

* Option: Sprinkle loaf with rolled oats or seeds before baking


Wholegrain bread and the grain foods are good sources of fibre, iron and B group vitamins. John’s soda bread is a very rich source of fibre as it includes wholemeal flour, seeds and nuts.

There are two main types of fibre: soluble and insoluble.
Insoluble fibre is found in wholegrain breads and cereals, wheat bran, wheat based pasta and some vegetables. Insoluble fibre absorbs water in the large bowel which leads to bulkier, softer stools. This helps prevent constipation and other related bowel problems.

Soluble fibre is found in fruits, oats, barley, legumes and some vegetables.
Soluble fibre forms a “gel” solution in the gut which slows down digestion and absorption of food. This can assist in lowering blood cholesterol levels (when combined with a low saturated fat diet) and help control blood sugar levels.

When you are eating high fibre foods, it is important to drink plenty of fluids.  Aim for at least 6-8 cups per day. Tea, coffee, cordials and soft drinks all count, but water is always the best drink.

John’s soda bread is also high in iron but it’s not in a form that is easy to absorb. Vitamin C helps to change the iron into a more easily absorbed form, so include some orange juice for breakfast with your wholegrain bread or cereal!

Nutrition by Julie Dundon, AdvAPD Dietitian

NPA is a company of nutritionists and dietitians that give people the knowledge they need to make better food choices. For over 25 years the company has advised partners in the aged care and retirement industries throughout Australia by setting and auditing standards, as well as providing education to a range of different audiences.

Recipe by John Casey, Professional Chef

John is a professional chef with over 30 years experience in highly awarded restaurant kitchens all around the world. His most recent experience in the retirement and aged care industry has allowed John to take his food preparation knowledge and apply it to improving the health of older Australians through improved food quality and age-appropriate nutrition.

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