Belinda Jeffery

Oat, honey & roasted pecan soda bread

This is such an easy bread to make – basically everything is mixed together, shaped into loaves, and popped into the oven. Roughly 35 minutes later, your kitchen will smell divine and you’ll have two beautiful little loaves of homemade bread. It’s slightly sweet from the honey, but not so sweet that it doesn’t work brilliantly with cheese – especially a creamy blue cheese. I hope you enjoy it!

P.S. One of my treats when I make this is to cut off a crusty end and spread it with fresh ricotta and honey – it’s positively scrumptious!


Makes 2 small loaves

  • 1 cup (90g) regular rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1 ⅔ cups (410ml) buttermilk (or plain yoghurt or milk kefir)
  • ⅓ cup (120g) clear honey
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ cups (240g) stone-ground wholemeal plain flour
  • 1 ½ cups (225g) plain (or unbleached plain) flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 200g roasted pecans, coarsely chopped
  • Flour, for dusting
  • Butter, to serve
  Line a large baking tray with baking paper then dust it lightly with flour and set it aside.


Tip the oats into a bowl. Pour in the buttermilk (or yoghurt or kefir) and thoroughly mix them together. Warm the honey and butter in a small saucepan over low heat. As soon as the butter melts take the pan off the heat and stir the mixture into the oats. Leave it to sit for 25 minutes so the oats start to soften.


Preheat your oven to 200C (190C fan forced).


Tip the wholemeal flour, unbleached flour, baking powder, bicarb soda and salt into a large bowl. Whisk them together for a minute or so with a balloon whisk until they’re thoroughly combined. Reserve a tablespoon or so of the chopped pecans for garnishing, and scrape the rest into the flour mixture; toss them about so they’re coated in a fine layer of flour.


Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour in the oat mixture. Thoroughly combine them until they form a dough – I usually start off mixing with a spoon, then use my hands to finish. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and divide it in half. Lightly knead each half to form little round loaves. Sit the loaves on the prepared baking tray and press very gently on them just to flatten the base a little. Stud each loaf with the reserved pecans. Dust the loaves lightly with flour then mark a fairly deep cross into the top of each one with a knife.


Bake the loaves for about 35 minutes or until they’re golden brown and sound hollow on the bottom when you give them a rap with your knuckles. When they’re ready, transfer them to a wire rack to cool.


It’s best to wait until the bread is cool before slicing otherwise it tends to crumble a bit…but truth be told, I usually can’t bear to wait that long and cut them sooner! Serve with butter…lots of it!