Not a reference to the buxom one's ample bust (sorry to disappoint you) but a recipe for delicious wheaten rolls. Unlike yeasted bread, which can be tiresomely time-consuming especially if one is in a hurry, soda bread is quick to make and delicious to eat, especially still warm with a thick slathering of unsalted butter. It is the action of bicarbonate of soda which gives soda bread its name, and its distinctive texture. This recipe includes stout and honey, and the resulting buns have a lovely depth, both of colour and flavour. I knocked out a batch while listening to the 5pm news programme on Radio 4, and making supper. The ingredients require only a good stir before shaping into rolls (in fact, I just spooned fist-sized dollops onto a baking sheet) and cook in only 15 mins. It was hard to resist a hot bun straight from the oven when they were done.

Makes about 12

400g wholemeal bread flour
100g rolled oats (not instant oats)
2 tsps flaked sea salt or 1 tsp fine table salt
2 tsps bicarbonate of soda
300 ml flat Guinness or stout
150 ml buttermilk, or liquidy plain natural yoghurt
60 ml groundnut or similar vegetable oil
60 ml runny honey

Oven 220C

Line a baking sheet with baking parchment or Bake-o-Glide.

Mix the dry ingredients together. Mix the wet ingredients together. Combine the two. Do not worry if the mixture seems unduly wet - keep stirring and very quickly the bicarb will work its magic chemistry and the mixture will turn moussey before resembling damp sand. Shape the mixture into rough bun shapes, or spoon it onto the baking shape. Sprinkle with oats and flatten slightly (I forgot to do this). Bake for about 15 mins, or until the buns come away easily from the baking sheet and are burnished and shiny underneath. Transfer from baking sheet to a wire cooling rack and resist the urge to eat all of them at one go - with lashings of butter.

These lovely soda buns brought back happy memories of my holiday in southern Ireland in the summer.

Demon Cook enjoying Guinness in a Dublin pub


  1. Thanks for posting the recipe, I have been looking for it having seen the episode. I shall definitely give them a whirl over the weekend.


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