The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Soda bread splitting on the side

hayley3's picture

Soda bread splitting on the side

The dough is a very wet dough so I really can't slash it as the recipe says to.

It's an Irish recipe by Odlums flour, so I measured out the ingredients by weight so that it would be correct.   I had the same issue with the pre-packaged Odlums bread mix.  It is like a quick bread so not able to slash it.  I put it in my Le Creuset loaf pan so it will rise high so I can use it to eat for toast.  I realize most Soda Bread is just a round shape but wanted toast.  So really I"m wondering if it's the pan doing it or if it's something else?




WatertownNewbie's picture

Could you post a photo of the bread?  Also some details about the recipe and what you are doing in the step-by-step.

The recipe I followed made a point of indicating that I might not need to add all of the buttermilk, and in fact I typically found that all of the flour was absorbed without adding all of the buttermilk (and doing so would have made for too much hydration).  The dough was somewhat stiff, which made a nice ball, and I was able to divide it into quarters with a bench knife.

Soda bread has a great flavor, so I hope you are able to achieve your goal and enjoy some fine toast.

hayley3's picture

This is the recipe:

I did watch a video or two that resembles the bread I am making and she didn't slash it either.

hayley3's picture

I hope you can see that's awfully small considering what I uploaded.  

hayley3's picture

WatertownNewbie's picture

From the recipe:

3. In a separate bowl beat together the yoghurt, egg, olive oil, honey and milk. Add to the dry ingredients and combine together gently until all dry ingredients are moistened.

4. Transfer to the prepared tin and sprinkle the extras oats on top, then make a cut down the centre with a knife.

"Moistened" sounds like something less hydrated than what you are describing happened in your case.  Perhaps the word "gently" means to add only enough to produce the "moistened" state and no more.  Also, when you did the "transfer" into the tin, did you even out the dough and eliminate gaps or potential weak spots?  Dough will seek a crack when expanding, and if a slice or other scoring is not made in the dough, the dough will find or make one.

These are some thoughts.  I hope others chime in here.  The recipe website includes links to two traditional soda breads.  Have you tried those?

hayley3's picture

Thanks so much for your thoughtful and informative comments......this is probably my 4th loaf from Odlums.  I think one time, the bread didn't split.  

I have watched a bunch of videos since I first posted here and it seems they just use a knife and cut down the middle of the bread like it was done slashing.  And I do normally smooth out the top but I will have to try cutting even though I felt it wasn't doing much.  :-)

The reason I like this bread is the tender crumb...I'm afraid if I decrease the liquid, it will not be as moist.

Portus's picture

... have you tried some of Clodagh McKenna's recipes?


liz grieve's picture
liz grieve

Hi Hayley 

I have looked at the Odlams recipe It doesn't appear to have salt in the recipe I have made many many loaves of soda bread and always put salt in the mixture Just wondering how you mixed the ingredients. Did you mix in the mixer or by hand  The appearance of the loaf is due to over-mixing the ingredients which I learnt at Ballymaloe in Ireland  Put dry ingredients  in a large bowl  Make sure you sieve the bicarbonate of soda Make a "well" in the centre Pour the wet ingredients  but hold a little milk back  Use your hand and shape it like a claw and mix lightly If you need to add last amount of liquid add at the edge of the bowl not the centre

My recipe is 

400 g  stoneground wholemeal  flour ( not bread flour )  flour you would use for scones or pastry

75 g White flour 

1 tsp salt

1 level tsp Soda Bicarbonate

1 Tablespoon rapeseed oil

1 tsp honey

1 egg

425mls buttermilk ( if you can't get buttermilk just add lemon juice to fresh milk and leave it 30 mins )

Bake @ Gas 6  200 c  400 f for 60 mins  Tin size is 9x 5 well oiled  Loaf will sound hollow when cooked 

The recipe is similiar except there are no oats 

Happy Baking This loaf makes lovely toast 


hayley3's picture

Thanks Liz and thanks for sharing your recipe.....I did notice later there was no salt in the Odlum's recipe and thought that was odd. 

I love Odlums flour because it is not like any whole wheat flour I've ever had.  It has a sweetness and texture that I really love and I've read that Irish flour is superior to American whole wheat and I must agree. Even as ugly as this loaf is, it is still very tasty.  :-)

I mixed the batter with a spoon, just briefly, until the liquid was incorporated.  Next time I will hold the buttermilk and let the bread come together to see if that makes a difference.   I did find another video that shows the loaf is barely formed but not kneaded at all. 

hayley3's picture

Thank you Portus for the web site...lots of great looking food there!

I also found a video on this site:


cgap's picture

One of the few loaves I've never had a failure with. Yet.

Can be scaled up.

380 gm Wholemeal OR (preferably) Whole wheat flour

Less than 1 tsp salt

Less than 1 tsp Bicarb (Baking soda)

285 ml Whey from homemade ricotta OR Buttermilk from homemade butter

Optional: replace 50 ml whey with pouring cream for a slightly richer loaf.

Mix dry ingredients with a balloon whisk, or by hand.

Add whey and only just bring together (bit like a scone mixture).

Scrape the dough off your fingers with the back of a knife, or wear disposable gloves.

Form the loaf and score an X in the top to about 1/3 depth.

Wait for 10 minutes because you forgot to turn the oven on to preheat at 230 Celsius. 10 minutes will also coincidentally give the bicarb a bit of a start.

Bake at 230 for 20 minutes, then turn loaf 180 degrees and lower to 200 for 20 minutes, then flip loaf upside down (trying not to burn yourself in the process) and let it sit in the oven (turned off, door closed) for another 5 minutes. Increase baking times a few minutes if scaling up. You can give it  a blast of steam too if you want.

Note the absence of white flour, eggs, oil and other substances. This is a real soda bread and not one for whimps. (That is humour, in case anyone starts frothing at the mouth).

So you haven't got any whey? Easy. Do it the cheats way.

2 litres of full cream milk (Not whimpy - see above - low fat milk)

25 ml white vinegar

1/2 tsp fine salt

Heat milk and salt in a double boiler to 85 C and take it off the heat.

Add vinegar and gently stir until curds form.

Leave it for a couple of minutes while you find a sieve and a bowl.

Strain and give it another couple of minutes to drain.

You do actually need full cream milk.

Spread the ricotta on your soda bread.