Six-seed Soda Bread Recipe

Inspired by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's soda bread recipe, this version is made with a blend of spelt flour and all-purpose flour. The dough is littered with seeds - sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, flax seeds, and fennel seeds. It bakes into a perfect, rustic, crusty loaf of bread with relatively little effort.

Six-seed Soda Bread

I finally had a chance to sit down this morning and sort through the pile of notes, menus, books, and magazines I brought back from my trip to Portland. There is a loaf of six-seed soda bread baking in the oven, a slab of butter on the counter waiting for it. I was thinking I'd share some highlights (and a couple photos) from the trip to Oregon, write up the soda bread recipe for you, then give the pot of left-over soup waiting on the back burner the signal that it's time for lunch.

Six Seed Soda Bread Recipe

If you find yourself planning a trip to Portland, you can have a look at some of the places I visited the last time I was there. I revisited a few of those on this trip, and made it to a handful of new places as well. There are also lots of great suggestions from you all in the comments section.

Six Seed Soda Bread Recipe

One of the highlights of the trip was getting outside Portland a bit. The area surrounding the city is beautiful, and we spent an entire day driving along two-lane back roads, pulling over to see waterfalls, gorges, bridges, small towns, and off-beat houses for sale. Here's a shot where Wayne surprised me while I was taking the previous picture.

Six Seed Soda Bread Recipe

On the food front, I continue to love lunch at Clyde Common, and would go back there everyday if proximity permitted. They had a buttermilk-dressed wheat berry salad on the menu that stole my heart, and an Upright Brewing Co. Farmhouse Rye Ale on tap that stole my craving for any other beer that week.

We popped over to the Little Red Bike Cafe early one morning - had fantastic coffee, a hearty breakfast, and a nice chat with Evan before heading out in the rain, and then went to stock up on an unreasonable amount of salt at The Meadow, again. Moxie Rx wasn't open during our stay, but Nancye (the owner) is an old friend of ours, and we were able to meet up with her for brunch the next day at Tasty & Sons. Also loved Navarre - their pearled farro, red celery, and parsley salad in particular. Another night we walked from the hotel downtown to Indish, and had one of the best, and most thoughtfully prepared Indian meals I've had in some time - bright, fresh, flavorful - really great.

I packed my suitcase with a number of books and publications to bring home. I bought the new issue of MIX, a smartly-done magazine focusing on Portland's food and drink culture (here's a link to their subscribe page in case you're interested). I snagged a copy of Edible Portland, a copy of Reza Mahammad's Rice, Spice, and all Things Nice, and a copy of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's River Cottage everyday.

Six Seed Soda Bread Recipe

The soda bread recipe in Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's book jumped out at me the first time I flipped through the pages. I make soda bread quite often (my favorite is actually a rye version) - it comes together in no time, with a small handful of ingredients, and you can have a loaf in the oven in under ten minutes. With a few minor tweaks to his recipe, I've also been enjoying Hugh's seeded, whole-grain flour version over the past couple of weeks. This soda bread is made with a blend of spelt flour and all-purpose flour, the dough is littered with seeds - sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, flax seeds, and fennel seeds. It takes on a nice crunchy crust, finished with more seeds on top. I like it in the morning slathered with bit of farmers cheese drizzled with honey, for lunch (like today) along with a bowl of soup, and leftovers make good croutons. If you're convinced you can't bake bread, I'd like to encourage you to give this a shot - at the very least you'll be out a bit of flour, some buttermilk, baking soda and some seeds. The upshot is you'll be able to make fresh bread any time you like.

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Six-seed Soda Bread Recipe

I've been enjoying this combination of seeds, but feel free to experiment with other combinations if you prefer, based on what you have on hand, or what is available in your area. You can also make this with whole-wheat flour in place of the spelt flour.

2 1/2 tablespoons EACH sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds,
poppy seeds, flax seeds

1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 3/4 cup / 9 oz / 250 g spelt flour
2 cups / 9 oz / 250 g unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 3/4 cup / 14 oz / 400 ml buttermilk
a bit of extra buttermilk/milk

Preheat your oven to 400F / 205C. Place a rack in the center of the oven. In a small bowl combine all the seeds and set aside.

Sift the flours, baking soda, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Stir in all but 2 tablespoons of the seeds. Make a well in the flour, pour in the buttermilk, and stir until the dough just comes together. If you need to add an extra splash of buttermilk because the dough is too dry, you can. As Hugh says, "Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead lightly for about a minute, just long enough to pull it together into a loose ball but no longer - you need to get it into the oven while the baking soda is still doing its stuff."

Place the dough on a lightly floured baking sheet and mark it with a deep cross across the top, cutting two-thirds of the way through the loaf with a serrated knife. Brush with buttermilk and sprinkle with the remaining seeds, making sure plenty of seeds make it down into the cracks.

Bake for 35 - 40 minutes, or until the bread is golden crusted on top and bottom (you may want to move the oven rack up for the last 15 minute if you need more color on the top of the loaf). Cool on a wire rack.

Makes a single loaf.

Adapted from River Cottage everyday by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, published by Bloomsbury.

Prep time: 10 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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This is the first bread I have ever made -- and it turned out GREAT! I had to use a fair amount more buttermilk than it called for (closer to a cup) to get it all to bind together. Very fun -- thank you. Also, Portland is the greatest. Except that its still raining, but I love it none the less.


Heidi- Please know I adore your site and check it religiously and have made a ton of your recipes! That being said, you've done a lot of baking recipes lately... could you do some more entrees please? I'm looking for some great new ones to throw into my routine. Maybe some that don't have expensive herbs that a college student like me can afford. =) Thanks a bunch and keep up the outstanding blog. I love it!!!


Indish is one of our favorite restaurants! We found it when the vegetarian restaurant our iPhone recommended was no longer in business. We went for a walk around the neighborhood and were immediately drawn to Indish. Great food! Great logo and we thoroughly enjoyed talking to the owner who served our table while his wife slaved in the kitchen HA! I've put all your restaurant recommendations in my iPhone and we'll give each of them a try this weekend on our trip to Portland. Thanks!


I am living in Cape Town, South Africa and this bread looks so good I have to try it but what is spelt flour? Don't know the name!


I just got back from a weekend in Portland--it's such a wonderful food city, and of course, Powell's is a destination in it's own right. Your pictures are beautiful, and the bread looks divine!

The Rowdy Chowgirl

oh and Limbo for the Wall of herbs, bulk herbs and tea (over 700!)


I moved to portland over 6 years ago from the North Bay and have been in love with this town since. One of the things that keep me here is the food. Some recommendations for the next trip: Food Carts, espeacially the ones downtown on SW 3rd and Washington/Stark and in N Greeley and Killingsworth Deteor Cafe on SE division and 28 for frittatas, their homemade cardamom toast and baked home fries. Old Wives Tale on SE Burnside and 12th for great lunch and breakfast options with fresh seasonal veggies and friendly with people with dietary restrictions (the menu lists every ingredient). The farmer's market on Saturdays at PSU


Beautiful photos, Heidi. Your trip sounds wonderful and so does that bread. I buy the Seeduction bread at Whole Foods as often as I can because I am literally addicted to it. I think I'll skip the store and just start making this one from now on. It looks hearty and delicious!

Natalie (The City Sisters)

Fennel seeds taste so wonderful when the bread is toasted. I make a seven grain bread with fennel. The aroma stimulates the appetite!


I have a heavy skillet with a lid and one induction plate in the place where I am staying at the moment. Can I use this recipe as a skillet bread? Any other suggestions for cooking here? I am finding it very limiting.


Looks delicious! Do you have the recipe for the Rye Soda Bread, too!?!

Here Be Dragons

Heidi. We have such a close love for Portland. Exceptional news to hear many of the places I used to love are still thriving. Funnily I know about the Little Red Bike Cafe because a few months before they were set to open, they all took one of my pie making classes there. And soda bread? I can't stop making it myself. In lieu of British books, I can't recommend Dan Lepard's The Handmade Loaf enough. Dan is a master baker and photographer & a bread anthropologist. I can't wait for you to tuck into it. HS: I'm a fan (of both Portland & Dan) - I follow him on Twitter. Hope all is well w/ you. xo -h

shuna fish lydon

That looks splendid! I'm experimenting with spelt flour and wondering if I can go all spelt instead of using all-purpose. Trial and error in my kitchen these days!

Michelle @ Find Your Balance

Hi Heidi! I've been looking into traveling to Oregon recently, in fact, Hood River made my Top 25 list of places to travel. I was wondering if you remember where you took this photo? It's absolutely breathtaking! Thanks! HS: Hi Chelsea, those are Multnomah Falls. Be sure to walk up to the upper bridge!


Hi Heidi, I'm eating a warm slice of this bread as I type. I did a few tweaks to the recipe that should be worth mentioning: as I didn't have spelt flour, I substituted rye flour; and because I'm a vegan, I substituted the buttermilk for rice milk mixed with lemon juice (1 tablespoon lemon juice for 3/4 cup of milk). It turned out super yummy! Thank you for sharing such great recipes. Love, Joana HS: Thanks for reporting back so quickly Joana! It's really helpful.


Looks delicious, Heidi... and beautiful shots! @ meg: You could use 1 1/2 cups of brown rice flour and 1/2 cup almond or chickpea flour to make it gluten-free.

Meghan (Making Love In The Kitchen)

Love this recipe...just a warning about the sunflower seeds which turn green...a brilliant green as a reaction to the soda....doesn't affect the taste but it kind of freaks you out the first time you see it...

Kathy Scott

Sounds delicious, Heidi...llove the pictures and this recipe looks perfect...I may try this out with a few chia seeds, as well!

The Healthy Apple

Dear Heidi, Love your pictures and this soda bread looks amazing. Thanks every so much.


Heidi, I was SO hoping you'd include this recipe after your earlier comments about it. Thank you!


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