Potato, Herb and Sunflower Seed Soda Bread

, from Issue #73. July, 2017
Photography by Manja Wachsmuth.
Potato, Herb and Sunflower Seed Soda Bread

For such a simple recipe, this bread always gets lots of “wows” when placed on the table, warm and fragrant from the oven.

Serves: Makes 1 loaf


300 grams floury potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
1⅓ cups plain flour
1⅓ cups whole wheat flour
¼ cup sunflower seeds, plus extra to garnish
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary plus extra sprigs, to garnish
2 tablespoons butter, diced
400–450ml buttermilk
2 teaspoons honey


Preheat the oven to 180°C fan bake.

Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender. Drain well, tip back into the saucepan and mash over a low heat to remove excess moisture. Set aside to cool.

Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Using your fingertips, rub in the butter until it resembles fine crumbs. Add the potatoes and mix through with your fingertips, breaking up any lumps.

Whisk 400ml of the buttermilk and honey together and add to the dry ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon until the dough starts to come together, only adding the extra buttermilk if needed. 
If buttermilk isn’t available, stir 2 tablespoons of lemon juice into regular milk and leave for 10 minutes. Tip on to a large, lightly floured piece of baking paper and knead briefly to bring all the loose bits together. Don’t overwork the dough or the loaf will be heavy. Shape into a round loaf.

Slide a flat baking tray under the baking paper and score the top of the loaf with a sharp knife, making 3cm deep cuts. Scatter over the extra sunflower seeds and rosemary sprigs then dust with a light sprinkling of flour.

Bake for 40–45 minutes or until a good golden brown and the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.