Mary Thomas' pine nut & cranberry soda bread

MAKES: 2 x 450g/1lb loaves
PREPARATION TIME: 20 minutes COOKING TIME: 35 minutes

"This is a real favourite of mine – a proper Irish soda bread recipe that one of our best friends, Mary Thomas, taught us in the early days of our spelt journey. Mary was doing all the early photography of the produce we were making and the animals we kept at Sharpham Park, and one day just knocked up one of these rustic loaves. If you like a softer crust, try following the Irish tradition of wringing out a wet tea towel until just damp, then wrapping it round the hot soda bread while it cools," says Mulberry founder Roger Saul.


A little oil, for greasing
675g/1½lb/heaped 5⅓ cups white spelt flour, plus extra for dusting
½ tsp sea salt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 handful of pine nuts
1 handful of dried cranberries, or any dried fruit/seeds of your choice
285ml/10fl oz/scant 1¼ cups buttermilk, plus extra if needed


Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6 and grease a large baking sheet.

Put all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the buttermilk, then stir gently with a knife to bind the mixture together to a soft, scone-like consistency, stirring in a little more buttermilk, if needed.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, divide in half and gently shape into rounds. Do not knead or the finished bread will be tough. Slice or press a cross in the top of each loaf, then put on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Extracted from Spelt by Roger Saul © Roger Saul 2015 published by Nourish Books, London Hardback, £16.99.