FOSTER: Claire Keegan’s Soda Bread

The narrator in my book Foster helps Mrs. Kinsella with the cooking and housework — and no Irish farmhouse would be without its own soda bread recipe. Here’s one from Richard Corrigan whose recipes are wonderfully hearty. If you don’t want any sweetness in your bread, you can make it without the honey and treacle—I  don’t have a sweet tooth, but it’s delicious either way.

Try it with smoked salmon, capers, lemon, and a pot of tea. When I’m on the road, the edible thing I most miss is wheaten soda bread and how its baking and coming out of the oven makes life feel that little bit sweeter  — even without its being sweetened — and even on a bad day. Do hope your book club members enjoy!

-Claire Keegan


6-8 servings

Prep Time

20 mins

Cook Time

45 mins

FOSTER: Claire Keegan’s Soda Bread

Adapted from Richard Corrigan's recipe on

  • 2 1/2 cups plus one tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 2/3 cups large-flake old fashioned rolled oats
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey

  • 1 tablespoon black treacle or molasses
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  1. Heat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
  2. Whisk dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Make a well in the center, add the honey, treacle or molasses and buttermilk to the well, and mix in with dry ingredients working everything together lightly with your hands until you have a loose, wet dough.
  3. Lightly flour a cutting board. . Flour your hands, shape the dough into a round and lift it onto the lined baking sheet. Cut a cross in the top (as the loaf cooks this will help to separate it into quarters).
  4. Bake for approximately 45 minutes or until the loaf sounds hollow when you tap the base with your knuckles. Place onto a wire rack, cover with a damp cloth and cool before serving.