Rachel Khoo's no knead cheese and onion loaf

There’s no better therapy than a bit of homemade bread making. But if you’re not in the mood to build and nurture a homemade starter but want to dabble in a little loaf making, a soda bread is your go to.

  • Preparation Time15 mins
  • Cooking Time45 mins
  • Serves1
  • DifficultyEasy

For the bread

300g carrots, parsnips or beetroot
50g fried onions
200g grated cheese
100ml buttermilk or yoghurt with 1 tbsp lemon juice
200g flour
200g wholemeal flour
1/2 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder

For the tapenade

20 green olives, pitted
1 clove of garlic
1 anchovy fillet


Baking tray
Baking paper
Pestle and mortar or food processor
Large bowl


Preheat oven to 180c fan. Peel and finely grate the carrots. Add to a bowl with the buttermilk, grated cheese and fried onion. Whisk the remaining ingredients together and make a well. Add wet ingredients and combine with your hands. Dust the surface with a little extra flour, add the dough and squash into a ball and place on to a lined baking tray. Using a knife or pastry scraper, make a criss cross in the top of the loaf about 2 cm deep.  Bake 35-45 minutes or until the bread when tapped on the back sounds hollow.

Alternatively you can divide the dough into 10 tennis sized balls and bake as buns for about 20-30 minutes or until the rolls when tapped on the back sound hollow.

To make the tapenade, crush the olives, garlic and anchovy to a rough paste (tapenade) using a mortar and pestle or an electric blender. 

Serve the soda bread warm from the oven with the tapenade on the side.


  1. I like the mix of wholemealand white flour here, but if you don’t have one or the other just make up the quantity in what you have available. 
  2. I like a firm mature cheese for this recipe, try a cheddar, gruyère, comté. 
  3. When it comes to soda bread, there’s no need for a long prove,the baking soda will react to the acidity in the buttermilk which will give you the rise you are after. 
  4. When it comes to kneading, you aren't looking to develop the gluten in a soda bread, that would  give  a  tougher  result,  think  of  it  more  as  a  very  wholesome  crumbly  cake  and handle it lightly, it goes excellently with everything from smoked salmon, to dunking in savoury soups or stews. 
  5. Scatter a few rolled oats or sprinkle a few seeds over the top before baking if it takes your fancy. 
  6. Baking powder is a dry chemical leavening agent, a mixture of a carbonate or bicarbonate and  a  weak  acid.  The  base  and  acid  are  prevented  from  reacting  prematurely  by  the inclusion of a buffer such as cornstarch. I used this instead because I didn’t have bicarbonate of soda. If you have bicarbonate of soda use 2 tsp instead of 4 tsp of baking powder.
  7. If you can’t get hold of it, you can substitute it for a 50 50 ratio of yoghurt to whole milk, or substitute it for yoghurt with a tbsp of lemon juice. The acidity is what you are after to activate your baking agent.