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Date and oat soda bread with salted date butter

Baking Weekend project
Serves 4
Prep 5 min
Cook 40 min

There are lots of great things to say about soda bread, one of which is that it comes together in less than an hour, so it’s doable on a Saturday morning, ready for brunch.


140g strong bread flour, plus extra for dusting
140g wholemeal flour
1½ tsp salt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp baking powder
60g jumbo oats
50g medjool dates, pitted and cut into ½cm dice
150ml buttermilk
2 tbsp date syrup or Sindyanna carob syrup
120g salted butter, cut into 1cm cubes, then softened at room temperature


  1. Heat the oven to 220C (200C fan)/425F, and dust a 30cm x 20cm baking tray liberally with bread flour.
  2. Put the two flours, salt, bicarb, baking powder and oats in a large bowl and mix to combine. In a small bowl, mix the dates, 125ml buttermilk, 150ml cold tap water and a tablespoon of date syrup. Make a well in the dry mix, then pour in the wet ingredients and gently knead with your hands until everything is fully integrated and the dough just comes together – do not overwork it.
  3. Form the dough into a round loaf shape that’s roughly 15cm in diameter and lift it gently on to the floured baking tray. Using a sharp knife, score a 5cm-deep cross into the top of the dough (don’t worry if it’s not perfect), then bake for 35 minutes, or until nicely browned and cooked through. Lift the loaf on to a rack and leave to cool for at least 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, make the date butter. In a food processor, blitz the butter for 60 seconds, until pale and fluffy, add the remaining 25ml buttermilk and blitz for another 10 seconds, just to incorporate (don’t blitz it for much longer or it will split).
  5. Transfer to a bowl, add the remaining tablespoon of date syrup and gently swirl it through the butter mix; you don’t want to incorporate it fully.
  6. Serve the bread warm or toasted with some of the date butter smeared on top.