Rosemary, Fig and Walnut Soda Bread

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I am always playing with different flavours in some of my favourite foods. A couple of weeks ago I posted about dehydrating figs. I must admit, this past Autumn I went a little nuts with fig recipes (sorry. no, not actually sorry… Fig season is far too short!) and with the last batch of figs left I had the idea to use dried figs in soda bread. And so here we are. An easy fig and walnut bread that is quick to whip up and is the perfect side on a board alongside cheese, chutney and cured meats. My kind of dinner!

a loaf of rosemary fig and walnut soda bread in a seasoned cast iron skillet on a bench surrounded by scattered rosemary leaves and ingredients.

What you are going to love about Rosemary, fig & walnut soda bread…

How ridiculously quick it is to whip up for a lazy, weekend meal. We often have homemade soup for Sunday supper and it’s so easy to bake a loaf of soda bread alongside. If you’re lucky there might be a slice or two to toast for Monday morning breakfast. Winner!

This recipe isn’t a big loaf. It’s enough for 4 people to go alongside a soup or stew. We generally eat the majority of the loaf when we have it with soup. As soda bread doesn’t really last more than a day, a small loaf this size never gets wasted.

What you need to get started

  • Pantry staples – plain flour, sea salt flakes, baking soda.

  • Dehydrated Figs – I dried my own figs, however I’ve also used dried store-bought Iranian figs and dried Australian figs which had a lot more moisture. If the figs are really dry you can always add a little more balsamic to soften them up.

  • Balsamic Vinegar – not need to use your most prized, aged vinegar here. A simple cooking balsamic vinegar is all you need.

  • Fresh Rosemary, approx 15cm sprig, stripped of leaves and finely chopped.

  • Roughly chopped walnuts

  • Honey – I always have a jar of local honey in the pantry. Did you know… Eating honey local to your area can help if you get seasonal allergies?

  • Buttermilk – if you can’t get your hands on buttermilk you can easily make it by combining 1 cup milk with 1 tbsp lemon juice. leave for a couple of minutes until it curdles and you’ve got buttermilk!

The details

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celcius.

  2. Combine all the dry ingredients as well as the chopped walnuts and rosemary in a mixing bowl. Mix to combine and pop aside.

  3. In a separate bowl, combine dried fig pieces with balsamic vinegar. Stir, and let the figs soak up the balsamic. Add the figs to the dry ingredients.  If there is a bit of balsamic left over after removing the figs, leave it in there.

  4. In the balsamic bowl that we just removed the figs from, add the honey to the buttermilk and give a good stir.

     
  5. Add the buttermilk mixture to the mixing bowl with other ingredients. Stir just to combine, but no more. The mixture should be quite wet and a bit shaggy in appearance. This is completely normal. 

  6. Form the dough into a rough ball and pop it onto a piece of baking paper on a baking tray (or like I do, into a cast-iron frypan). Using the back of a wet spoon, gently smooth over the surface to guide it into a round, bread dough. Score the top of the dough with a large X.

  7. Pop into the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes. 

  8. Soda bread is ready when it’s golden in colour and you get a hollow sound when you flip it over and tap on the base.

Equipment needed to bake soda bread

Not a lot. A mixing bowl, wooden spoon, a knife and a baking tray. I bake soda bread in a season cast iron skillet linned with baking paper sprinkled with flour. You could also nix the baking paper and use a Silpat baking mat if you have one.

What do I serve soda bread with?

This flavoured soda bread is the perfect accompaniment to a cheese board. The flavours of rosemary, fig and walnuts work a treat alongside a good creamy triple cream cheese, a sharp cheddar, dried fruits, olives, cured meats and spreads. It also makes a delicious sandwich. Fill it with slices of brie, my balsamic fig jam and rocket… then toast. Yarrmmm!

After a soda bread that goes really well with soup? Try this Bacon, chive and cheese soda bread. It’s my go-to when pumpkin soup is on the table.

Here are a few more recipes you might like…

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Dehydrated fig quarters
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a loaf of rosemary fig and walnut soda bread in a black cast iron frypan. Its sitting on a bench alongside balsamic vinegar some flour and rosemary.

Rosemary, Fig and Walnut Soda Bread

  • Author: Emma Lee
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 1 loaf 1x
  • Category: sides
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Irish

Description

A savoury flavoured soda bread that is quick to whip up and is the perfect bread on a board alongside cheese, chutney, and cured meats. My kind of dinner!


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 350g plain flour
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 50g walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 15cm sprig of thyme, leaves removed and finely chopped
  • 100g dehydrated figs, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 300ml buttermilk

Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees celcius.
    2. Combine all the dry ingredients as well as the chopped walnuts and rosemary in a large mixing bowl. Mix to combine and pop aside.
    3. In a separate bowl, combine dried fig pieces with balsamic vinegar. Stir, and let the figs soak up the balsamic. Add the figs to the dry ingredients.  If there is a bit of balsamic left over after removing the figs, leave it in there.
    4. In the balsamic bowl that we just removed the figs from add the honey to the buttermilk and give a good stir. 
    5. Add the buttermilk mixture to the mixing bowl with other ingredients. Stir just to combine, but no more. The mixture should be quite wet and a bit shaggy in appearance. This is completely normal. 
    6. Form the dough into a rough ball and pop onto a piece of baking paper on a baking tray (or like I do, into a cast iron frypan). Using the back of a wet spoon, gently smooth over the surface to guide it into a round, bread dough. Score the top of the dough with a large X. Brush the top of the soda bread with remenants of the buttermilk bowl.
    7. Pop into the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes. 
    8. Soda bread is ready when it’s golden in colour and you get a hollow sound when you flip it over and tap on the base.


Keywords: Soda bread, Irish food

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