Oaty Brown Sugar Soda Bread

April  3, 2018
4 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
Author Notes

A whole-grain, Dutch-oven loaf to make whenever a bread craving strikes. (So, all the time!) This recipe was inspired by and adapted from Eat Up! by Ruby Tandoh. If you can't find whole-milk kefir, you can replace with whole-milk yogurt (thinned, if necessary) or whole-milk buttermilk. Either way, you want something full-fat, so the bread is tender and fluffy, not dry and crumbly. Serve with salted butter and jam, or cream cheese and smoked fish. —Emma Laperruque

Test Kitchen Notes

Featured in: An Oaty, Dutch-Oven Bread to Make on a Moment’s Notice —The Editors

  • Makes 1 loaf
  • 2 1/2 cups (400 grams) whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup (120 grams) rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 1/4 cups (423 grams) whole-milk kefir
In This Recipe
  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Line a 4-quart (or close enough!) Dutch oven with parchment. It doesn’t need to fit perfectly.
  2. Combine the flour, oats, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Break up the brown sugar with your fingers to get rid of any lumps. Whisk everything together until smooth. Switch to a rubber spatula or wooden spoon and slowly add the kefir, stirring as you do, just until a cohesive dough forms. It will be sticky.
  3. Scrape the dough into the Dutch oven and spread to even out. Use a small serrated knife to cut an X, about 1/2 inch deep, in the center. Cover the pot and get it in the oven.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for another 5. The bread should be springy to the touch. Cool in the pot until you can grab the bread without burning yourself. Transfer to a rack to cool.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Roxanne
  • Madison Sternberg
    Madison Sternberg
  • Emma Laperruque
    Emma Laperruque
  • Hannah
Emma is the food editor at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles on the fly, baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., and writing about the history of pie in North Carolina. Now she lives in New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's award-winning column, Big Little Recipes (also the cookbook in October 2021!). And see what she's up to on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

    15 Reviews

    Pandora57 May 29, 2020
    I like the quick process of making the bread not the Results. I had some young Adults for Brunch. I wondered why they were slathering it with all sorts of things. I tasted it a slice without anything and thought I give it a 3 out of 5. It is what I think of as a Basic Healthy Bread.

    I grew up with a Mom that made everything from Scratch. I was looking for that Yum I got from her homemade Wheat Bread. Then I remembered that this isn't a Yeast Based Bread. I try to eat healthy so I will finish what the Young Ones didn't. Maybe if I added in some Dried Fruit it might have been better for my Taste.
    Roxanne May 22, 2020
    How is this SO good for being so simple and wholesome!? I used a little less than a cup of whole milk yoghurt, thinned with enough milk to make the full 1 1/4 cups, plus a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar just to make sure it was acidic enough. Truly more than the sum of its parts!
    Author Comment
    Emma L. May 22, 2020
    So glad you enjoyed!
    mildcrush January 5, 2020
    I would say that the recipe was easy to follow. It’s not the most complex bread but it’s very simple and quick!

    7/10 for me.
    Ate it with butter and salt.
    Chesnut purée, butter and some maldon.
    Also loved it with Nutella and banana...

    Here is a video of me testing out the recipe below:

    Penny March 13, 2019
    I don’t have a Dutch oven in my tiny kitchen . Can this be baked on a baking sheet? I really want to try it!
    Author Comment
    Emma L. March 18, 2019
    Hi Penny! Do you have an oven-safe pot with a lid? That could work, too. If not, you can try it on a baking sheet instead—I haven't tried this myself, but I imagine it'll work. Please let me know how it goes!
    Penny March 18, 2019
    Thanks. Will give it a go on the baking sheet.
    Madison S. May 9, 2018
    Do you think it would work if I replaced the kefir with coconut milk or cream?
    Author Comment
    Emma L. May 9, 2018
    You need something acidic to active the baking soda, so I'd try coconut yogurt first—or, coconut milk mixed with some vinegar or citrus juice.
    LULULAND January 19, 2020
    Hello, would buttermilk work? If not how much vinegar to milk should I use?
    Author Comment
    Emma L. January 19, 2020
    Buttermilk would work if you can find a whole-milk variety. If not, plain, whole-milk yogurt (not Greek) could also work.
    LULULAND January 19, 2020
    Thank you!
    Mary April 9, 2018
    How would this turn out using gluten free flour? Any ideas?
    Author Comment
    Emma L. April 9, 2018
    I haven't tried a gluten-free version of this recipe but, because the loaf depends so much on the wheat flour (and its gluten), I have a feeling it would turn out very different—probably denser, not as fluffy.
    Hannah August 5, 2019
    If you use the King Arthur 1-for-1 baking blend, it works just as well as a basic flour blend. I’ve had a lot of success with breads, pies, and cakes - no one can tell the difference.