Clodagh McKenna recipes: How to make rosemary ‘Clodagh’ soda bread

Clodagh McKenna
·2-min read
 (Clodagh McKenna)
(Clodagh McKenna)

If you’re reading this as you head home from work, making your own bread is likely not high on your list of priorities. I’d imagine a glass of wine or a hot bath tops it.

Still, January is about trying new things, so this is an idea for the weekend. You’ll only need to set aside 20 minutes, and you’ll soon have the smell of fresh bread wafting through the house.

It’s the bread that’s always on my kitchen table at home — I make it every Saturday morning. It’s similar to the traditional Irish soda bread, but made with yoghurt and rosemary. Thyme makes a lovely substitute, or herbs can be left out altogether.

There’s no kneading or proofing involved, just stirring and shaping. A loaf will last for a week, and is ideal for toast in the mornings or to fill out a packed lunch. Because there’s no yeast in the recipe, it won’t leave you feeling bloated, either.

Rosemary “Clodagh” bread

Makes: 1 loaf

Prep time: 15 minutes

Baking time: 40 minutes


  • 200g white flour

  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 350g wholemeal flour

  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped

  • 350ml milk

  • 250ml natural yoghurt

  • Small bowl of milk and yoghurt mix for brushing

  • A little spare chopped rosemary for decoration


1. Heat your oven to 220°C/Gas Mark 7.

2. Sieve the white flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large mixing bowl, and stir in the wholemeal flour. Using clean hands, mix the flours, soda and finely chopped fresh rosemary together. Make a well in the centre of the bowl.

3. Whisk together the milk and yoghurt, and slowly pour into the well of dry ingredients. Using your free hand to mix the flour into the buttermilk, try to spread your fingers far apart so this resembles a trough. Make sure the dough is completely wet with no dry patches.

4. Pat your hands with flour and shape the dough into one round, then place onto a floured baking tray. Flour a large knife and cut the shape of a cross into the top of the dough, about two thirds of the way through.

5. Brush the round of bread with the milk and yoghurt mixture using a pastry brush, which will give the bread a lovely golden colour once it’s baked. Sprinkle a little fresh rosemary on top too.

6. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 180°C/Gas Mark 4 for a further 25 minutes. To test whether the loaf is cooked, tap the back with your knuckles; it should sound hollow. It it doesn’t, pop it back in for a few minutes. Once the bread is done, leave it to cool on a rack.

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