Sunday, 28 October 2012

Soda Bread with Spinach and Thyme

Despite the fact I've worked in the bakery industry, I've never made soda bread.  I've made scones which are basically a sweetened soda bread but I have no idea why I'd not made that step.

I mixed it up a bit by adding in some hidden vegetable (spinach, I do like a hidden vegetable) and some herbs.  Completely non traditional so feel free to miss them out.  I also used yoghurt when buttermilk is the traditional ingredient but not all that easy to find, at least not near me.

Soda bread relies on chemical production of carbon dioxide rather than biological methods.  Bicarbonate of soda (sodium hydrogen carbonate) produces carbon dioxide, water and some kind of salt when it reacts with an acid.  As it then cooks in the oven and the structure of the flour around it sets, the holes are captured.  That said, it's not as light as a well made sponge and dough traditional loaf but it is still good and great if you're on a thrifty mission (you can pick up bags of plain flour for peanuts) or if the cupboards are bare.

I have to be honest and say I'm not a fan of the flavour of bicarbonate of soda, I find it gives an astringency which I find off putting but I think I'm just sensitive to it.  That said, I will have a play with this recipe and see if I can reduce the bicarb or hide that flavour.  That all said, it was still pretty yummy and making bread from scratch in 45 minutes can't be bad (you're reading about someone who makes sourdough here so I believe in long bread making processes most of the time!)

Spinach and Thyme Soda Bread - serves a big family!  Best eaten warm.


500g, 17.5oz Plain (all purpose) flour
400g, 14oz Full Fat Greek Yoghurt
2 tbsp Milk
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
40g, 1.5oz Frozen, chopped spinach, defrosted
1 tsp or so of fresh thyme


Preheat the oven to 200oC / 400F.

Mix the flour, salt and bicarb together then mix in the spinach, thyme and yoghurt and add in the milk if needed to bring it all together.  Get your hands in and bring it all together.   Kneed for about a minute or so but no more is needed than that, you don't want to overhandle it like a normal bread dough.

Put onto a floured baking dish, flour the top a bit and cut a deep cross in the top of the loaf.

Bake for 35 - 40 minutes, I did it for 38 which as you can see was a touch too much but it still tasted good.

Great with soup...

...and proper butter.

Watch out for the salt content if feeding to very young babies (as bicarb contains sodium too), obviously be sensible, give a small amount.

I've linked this up to the herbs on a saturday challenge here.

Herbs on Saturday


  1. What a FABULOUS recipe and entry into Herbs on Saturday, and such a lovley series of photos too! Love the addition of thyme in this soda bread....Karen

    1. Aw shucks! Thank you!

      I love thyme, I normally grow it but believe it or not, the slugs around here ate my parsley and my thyme this year so I'm currently making do with a pot from the supermarket on my windowsill. It's never quite the same because the home outdoor grown stuff I think has way more flavour but hopefully come spring (and some top tips from local gardeners about using egg shells) I might have more success next year!


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