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Fruit and Spice Soda Bread

A sweetly spiced twist on the Irish classic, this delicious soda bread will be most welcomed any time of year! The addition of rolled oats and whole wheat flour give the bread a hearty quality and a dense crumb. Although soda bread often has raisins, this version adds chopped dates as well, which we found completely apt to compliment the mild spice.

Fruit and Spice Soda Bread

4 oz. rolled oats (1 1/3 cup)
1 oz. butter (2 tbs.)
7 oz. all-purpose flour (1 1/2 cups plus 1 tbs.)
7 oz. whole wheat flour (1 2/3 cup)
4 oz. caster sugar (1/2 cup plus 1 tsp.)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. mixed spice
2 oz. raisins (1/2 cup)
2 oz. golden raisins (1/2 cup)
2 oz. stoned dates, chopped fine (1/2 cup)
3 tbs. mixed candied citrus peel
16 fl. oz. buttermilk (2 cups)
2-3 tbs. demerara sugar

Fruit and Spice Soda Bread

Heat the oven to 400°F. Whiz the oats and butter in the food processor, then transfer to a large bowl (or rub together with your fingertips). Stir in the flours, sugar, baking soda, salt, mixed spice, raisins, golden raisins, dates, and mixed peel. Pour over the buttermilk and quickly stir to make a sticky dough. Transfer to a flour-dusted baking sheet and, using floured hands, shape into a large disc. Scatter over the demerara sugar, pressing it into the top. Using a sharp, flour-dusted knife, cut a big cross in the top.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until crusty on the outside. Eat warm or cold, thickly sliced and spread with butter.

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