Soda Bread with Buttermilk, Cheddar and Chives

This recipe is adapted from Claire Thomson, and allows you to get a scrumptious GF loaf on the table in an hour, or 12 savoury muffins ready in 30 minutes.

If you don’t have buttermilk, see the footnote for knocking up a suitable alternative.

Makes: One loaf, or 12 muffins



  • 320g gluten-free flour
  • 2 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 1 heaped tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 80g grated mature cheddar cheese
  • 15g chopped fresh chives, or, 2 tablespoons dried chives
  • 40g melted butter (cooled slightly), plus extra cold butter for greasing loaf tin
  • 230ml buttermilk (240g if weighing), at room temperature – see footnotes
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 heaped tsp Dijon mustard


  • A 2lb loaf tin (or a 12-hole muffin tin with 12 paper cases)
  • Baking/parchment paper to line loaf tin, with an overhang on each side
  • 1 large mixing bowl, and a measuring jug
  • Cooling rack


  1. Preheat oven to 200 C  (180 C fan-assisted). Very lightly grease your loaf tin and line with paper. (If making muffins, arrange paper cases in muffin tin.)
  2. Put all ingredients from flour to chives in a large mixing bowl and combine.
  3. Put all remaining ingredients into a measuring jug and whisk together.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and combine quickly with a fork. Don’t overmix the dough as the resulting loaf will be very tough.
  5. Transfer the dough into your prepared loaf tin / spoon into muffin cases.
  6. Bake for about 40 minutes (muffins take about 20 minutes), turning tin halfway through for even baking. When a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean, remove from the oven. Lift the loaf in the paper to a cooling rack, or, remove muffin cases from the tin to a cooling rack.

Making a Buttermilk Substitute
Simply add the juice of half a lemon to room-temperature whole milk and let it sit for about 10 minutes. It will go chunky, which is what you want, to react with the bicarb and baking powder to create a rise.

Note on ‘Room Temperature’ Ingredients
It’s really important that the buttermilk – or regular milk if making with lemon juice – is at room temperature and not straight from the fridge. Ditto this for the egg (but c’mon, you don’t keep your eggs in the fridge, do you?). Cold ingredients will inhibit the rise from the baking powder and bicarb. The loaf/muffins you make will still taste delicious, but they will be quite close-textured, and not risen and light.