Sweet apple and raisin soda bread

Sweet apple and raisin soda bread

How to Cook Bread
2 medium loaves
Peter Cassidy

This is a simple and delicious bread that can be served for tea, but is especially good served with blue cheese.


Quantity Ingredient
50g dried apples
100g large raisins
50g hazelnuts
225g wholemeal flour
225g plain flour, plus extra to dust
2 teaspoons ground mixed spice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
50g butter
100g caster sugar
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
300-350ml buttermilk, (see note)


  1. Heat the oven to 190°C. Using kitchen scissors, chop the dried apples into 1–2cm pieces and put in a small bowl with the raisins. Pour over enough boiling water to just cover the fruit, and set aside to soak for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, spread the hazelnuts out on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from the baking sheet and set aside to cool.
  3. Sift both flours, the mixed spice and salt into a large bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and rub into the flour using your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar and bicarbonate of soda.
  4. Roughly chop the cooled nuts. Strain the soaked fruit and discard the liquid. Stir the fruit and chopped nuts into the flour mixture.
  5. Add enough of the buttermilk to make a soft but not sticky dough. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces and form into round, slightly domed loaves, about 5cm thick. Place the loaves on a large, lightly floured baking sheet, or on 2 smaller ones.
  6. Dip the handle of a wooden spoon in flour and mark a 2cm deep cross on top of each loaf, then lightly dust with flour. Bake in the oven for 40–50 minutes or until well risen, with no evidence of raw dough showing through the cross in the centre.
  7. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for at least 15 minutes, but ideally serve while still warm.

A note on buttermilk...

  • If you cannot find buttermilk, use milk and add 2 tsp cream of tartar to the dry ingredients. Alternatively, add 2–3 tbsp lemon juice to ordinary milk and leave in a warm place for 10–15 minutes to sour the milk, which will provide enough acidity for the dough.
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