Soda Bread or Donkey Bread

Keifer Derrin of food blog attempts to bake soda bread but instead invents a new kind of bread – Donkey Bread. All will be explained below…

I learnt something the other day, not only should I RTFM, see previous post HERE, I should also try and learn my ingredients. I had decided to make soda bread, as my other half is always saying how much they like it. So I looked at a couple of recipes and like most recipes there were different versions and decided to pick one and this is it.  Actually when I told a friend the recipe he said that what I cooked was not soda bread, because his Irish grand mother never used cream of tartar or caster sugar, which were required for this recipe (actually as you will see I didn’t because I didn’t know my ingredients).

I went to my local Tesco to get what was needed. In the mustard section I found tartar sauce and so bought it, thinking that was needed. After making the dough I baked it and placed it on the wire rack to cool, my partner came home and saw it and said it looks good, but then he noticed the tartar sauce and asked about it.  I explained the recipe and he started laughing because cream of tartar is completely different to tartar sauce – OOOPS. But actually the bread taste’s fine and my mistake didn’t ruin it. Oh, I also forgot to add the caster sugar, maybe I have invented my own kind of bread, so I am going to call donkey bread. I guess this goes to show that you can “modify” recipes and they still come out okay. I was actually lucky, so in future if I’m not sure of an ingredient I will check it out on the internet first.


225g wholemeal flour (plus extra for dusting)
225g plain white flour
1tsp of salt
2tsp bicarbonate of soda
2tsp cream of tartar
40g of butter
1tbsp caster sugar
350-375ml cups of buttermilk


Sieve the flours into a bowl (I found that the wholemeal grains didn’t sieve through) so I just threw them into the bowl and then added the salt and bicarbonate of soda.

Add the tartar and then the butter and rub it into the flour.  Pour in the buttermilk and mix together, ensuring that you have a moist dough, you may need to add more flour or buttermilk, you are the best judge.

Roll the dough into a round, using a knife cut a deep cross into the dough.  Place into a pre-heated oven (190C/375F/Gas 5) over 35-45 minutes. Turn the bread upside down and tap it, if it’s cooked it should sound hollow, then leave on a wire rack to cool.

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About Keifer Derrin

Having worked in IT for over 20 years, Keifer Derrin quit his job to do something new. Not claiming to be a Gordon, Heston or even a Delia, Keifer’s passion for all kinds of food includes trying out new recipes whether they take 10 minutes or 8 hours to prepare. He also enjoys eating out - anything from The Ledbury to Pizza Express and even a local greasy spoon! Keifer also does voluntary work for the Food Chain, a charity that supplies food, meals & nutritional education to people who are HIV+. Check out his food blog at
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