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Soda Bread Buns With Fennel Seeds And Cranberries

by . Featured in SIMPLY NIGELLA
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Introduction

I recommend eating one of these for breakfast with lots of unsalted butter, which gives all the sweetness I need, but if you want a sweeter bun, add 50ml runny honey along with the yogurt and egg. Like any soda bread, these buns are as good eaten with a slice of cheese, as they are with butter and jam, and the slightly more exotic scent of the fennel seeds and the bursts of tart flavour from the cranberries, don't stop these from having the cosiness of a - perhaps fictional - Irish parlour. And while they are not something I would knock up for an everyday breakfast, when I've got time on my hands I love to get said hands working a dough to conjure up a batch of these. A cursory glance at the recipe will show you how gratifyingly easy they are to make.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

I recommend eating one of these for breakfast with lots of unsalted butter, which gives all the sweetness I need, but if you want a sweeter bun, add 50ml runny honey along with the yogurt and egg. Like any soda bread, these buns are as good eaten with a slice of cheese, as they are with butter and jam, and the slightly more exotic scent of the fennel seeds and the bursts of tart flavour from the cranberries, don't stop these from having the cosiness of a - perhaps fictional - Irish parlour. And while they are not something I would knock up for an everyday breakfast, when I've got time on my hands I love to get said hands working a dough to conjure up a batch of these. A cursory glance at the recipe will show you how gratifyingly easy they are to make.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

Image of Nigella's Soda Bread Buns
Photo by Keiko Oikawa

Ingredients

Makes: 8

Metric Cups
  • 50 grams unsalted butter
  • 150 grams plain flour
  • 100 grams plain wholemeal flour (not bread flour) - plus more for cutting and sprinkling
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • ¾ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 150 millilitres runny plain yoghurt or buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 75 grams dried cranberries
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup plain whole wheat flour (not bread flour) - plus more for cutting and sprinkling
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ⅔ cup runny plain yogurt or buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds

Method

  1. Melt the butter and then leave it to cool a little. Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C Fan/gas mark 7/425°F, and line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
  2. In a large bowl, combine both flours, the salt, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and ground allspice, and use a fork to mix well.
  3. In a measuring jug, or similar, whisk the yogurt or buttermilk together with the egg, and then whisk in the cooled, melted butter.
  4. Pour the jugful of wet ingredients over the bowl of dry ingredients, then add the dried cranberries and fennel seeds, and stir to mix with a wooden spoon. I then do the final bit of mixing with my hands once the dough seems to be coming together.
  5. Turn the damp or sticky dough out onto a floury surface, and then cut the ball of dough in half, and then each half into 4 pieces, so that you have 8 bits in total. Shape each piece of dough into a rough ball and place on your lined baking sheet with some space between them.
  6. Take a pair of scissors and snip a small "X" shape into the top of each one, then - using your fingers - sprinkle a little wholemeal flour over each bun.
  7. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the buns are brown and sound hollow when tapped underneath. Let them cool for about 10 minutes before you eat them.
  1. Melt the butter and then leave it to cool a little. Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C Fan/gas mark 7/425°F, and line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
  2. In a large bowl, combine both flours, the salt, baking powder, baking soda and ground allspice, and use a fork to mix well.
  3. In a measuring jug, or similar, whisk the yogurt or buttermilk together with the egg, and then whisk in the cooled, melted butter.
  4. Pour the jugful of wet ingredients over the bowl of dry ingredients, then add the dried cranberries and fennel seeds, and stir to mix with a wooden spoon. I then do the final bit of mixing with my hands once the dough seems to be coming together.
  5. Turn the damp or sticky dough out onto a floury surface, and then cut the ball of dough in half, and then each half into 4 pieces, so that you have 8 bits in total. Shape each piece of dough into a rough ball and place on your lined baking sheet with some space between them.
  6. Take a pair of scissors and snip a small "X" shape into the top of each one, then - using your fingers - sprinkle a little whole wheat flour over each bun.
  7. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the buns are brown and sound hollow when tapped underneath. Let them cool for about 10 minutes before you eat them.

Additional Information

MAKE AHEAD NOTE:
The dough can be prepared up to 3 months ahead and frozen. Shape the dough into buns, put on a lined baking sheet and, once solid, transfer to a resealable plastic bag and into the freezer. Bake from frozen, sprinkling with a little wholemeal flour, and add 2 minutes to the baking time.

STORE NOTE:
The buns are best eaten on the day they are made. Store leftovers in an airtight container for 1-2 days. Reheat in an oven preheated to 150C/ 130C Fan/gas mark 2/300°F for 8-10 minutes, or split buns in half and toast under a preheated grill.

FREEZE NOTE:
The baked buns can be frozen in resealable bags for up to 3 months. Thaw on a wire rack for about 2 hours and reheat as in the Store Note.

MAKE AHEAD NOTE:
The dough can be prepared up to 3 months ahead and frozen. Shape the dough into buns, put on a lined baking sheet and, once solid, transfer to a resealable plastic bag and into the freezer. Bake from frozen, sprinkling with a little wholemeal flour, and add 2 minutes to the baking time.

STORE NOTE:
The buns are best eaten on the day they are made. Store leftovers in an airtight container for 1-2 days. Reheat in an oven preheated to 150C/ 130C Fan/gas mark 2/300°F for 8-10 minutes, or split buns in half and toast under a preheated grill.

FREEZE NOTE:
The baked buns can be frozen in resealable bags for up to 3 months. Thaw on a wire rack for about 2 hours and reheat as in the Store Note.

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