This delicious soda bread is filled with figs and walnuts. It’s a lovely bread any time of year, but especially lovely for St. Patrick’s Day!
I make this soda bread every year about this time. It’s a great lead up to St. Patrick’s Day. And every time I make it, I’m reminded what a great treat it is to enjoy all year round. It’s so easy to make and the fig and walnut flavours are so perfect together!
This soda bread is very, very lightly sweet. That’s why I highly recommend the addition of the honey butter! Beyond the creamy butter, the touch of sweetness it adds to every bit is just the thing to bring all the flavours together.
I baked this one up in my skillet, as you can see :) My skillet is 10 inches top diameter. If you don’t have or want to bake it in a skillet, a 9-inch round baking pan should work nicely.
I like to mix up a small bowl of the honey butter and leave it out with the soda bread, so it’s handy to use as we enjoy the loaf.
Soda bread is best on the day it is baked, but if you wrap it up well, it will still be quite good for another day or so.
No buttermilk? Make your own for this recipe by measuring out 2 cups of regular milk and removing two Tablespoons of it. Replace with 2 Tablespoons of white vinegar or lemon juice.
I used Black Mission Figs, but any figs will work. (For Canadians, Black Mission Figs are easily available at Bulk Barn, so you can just buy what you need. You’ll only need a handful.)
Get the Recipe: Fig and Walnut Soda Bread with Honey Butter
- 1 1/2 cups (187.5 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups (180 g) whole wheat flour
- 3/4 cup (87.75 ml) walnuts, chopped
- 1/2 cup (74.5 ml) dried figs, diced (I used black mission figs)
- 1 Tbsp (14.79 ml) baking powder
- 1 Tbsp (14.79 ml) granulated sugar
- 1 tsp (4.93 ml) baking soda
- 1 tsp (4.93 ml) fine table salt
- 2 cups (480 ml) buttermilk
- 1/3 cup (75.67 g) butter, at room temperature
- 2 Tbsp (29.57 ml) liquid honey
- Preheat oven to 400° F. Grease a 10-inch top diameter cast-iron frying pan or an 8 or 9-inch round baking pan. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, walnuts, figs, baking powder, sugar, baking soda and salt. Make a well in centre of the dry ingredients, then pour in the buttermilk. Stir to form sticky, thick batter. Scrape in to prepared baking pan, pushing the dough into the edges of the pan.
- Sprinkle top with a bit of flour. Bake in pre-heated 400° oven until golden and a tester inserted in the centre comes out clean, 25-30 minutes. **Note: Check bread after 20 minutes or so and if it is browned enough, simply put a piece of tin foil over the top to stop further browning while it finishes cooking.
- Let stand in pan for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edges. Gently loosen from the edges and slide bread onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting.
- Soda bread is best eaten on the day it is baked. If you can't eat it up right away, you can wrap tightly and stretch it another day or so, or it does freeze well.
- For the Honey Butter: In a small bowl and using fork, mash softened butter with honey until smooth. Makes about 1/2 cup.
I made this and loved it. Will make many times again.
So glad to hear, Kim :) It is one of my favourite breads! Thank so much.
This look Delish! I’m wondering if I could use date cause I’m out of figs?
Thanks for sharing with us!
Hi Patricia and sure, I think it would be a fine substitute in this bread :) Enjoy!
I mdae this last week and love it. I made it in a 10″ cast iron pan. I’d like the loaf higher. Can it be baked in a loaf pan? And timing if yes.
Hi Kimberly and yes, you can bake this in a loaf pan. I’m not sure of the exact timing, as I haven’t tried it, but I have a loaf soda bread recipe that takes 35-40 minutes in a 9×5 loaf pan, so you can use that as a guideline, anyway. Enjoy and let me know how it works out!
Could I just use All Purpose flour and not use wheat?
HI Laurel and yes you could. Just note that it will take less of the buttermilk to come together, as the all purpose won’t absorb as much as the whole wheat. Other than that, should be fine :)
I’ve made this before and love it! Question – do you think it would be possible to mix it up the might before and bake it in the morning? I want to take it to work as a St. Patrick’s Day treat for my co-workers but, honestly, I’m not a morning person and would prefer to not have to get up too much earlier lol!
Hi Tonya and I hear you about not being a morning person :) Unfortunately, I don’t think you can mix it together ahead. As it is baking soda leavened and baking soda starts to work once it is combined with liquid, you will loose all that leavening power if you don’t baking it right away. That said, you could prepare the dry ingredients and the liquids, but keep them separate until morning and save yourself a bit of work. In the morning, just combine, shape and bake. Sorry, wish I could have said yes :)
Hello! Should I toast the walnuts first or leave them untoasted?
Hi Sarah, you can go either way. Toasting the walnuts will amp up the walnut flavour and never hurts.
When you say dice the figs, exactly how small are we talking? 1/4? 1/8? Same for the walnuts—dice suggestions?
Hi Micah, the size of the dice isn’t super important here and is somewhat a matter of taste (do you want bigger chunks or smaller). That said, I usually for for about 1/2 inch ish.
I’m making this Wednesday for some friends. It looks delicious! I have a fig tree and froze a bag of them last September. I wondered if they would work instead of dried?
I’m not sure Deb, but it’s worth a try I think :)
It looks so good…!! Do you think it would work with gluten free flour?
Hi Sylvie, I don’t have a ton of experience with gluten free flour, but my understanding that if using a “cup for cup” gluten free flour it will definitely “work”. My experience with gluten free breads is that the texture is usually more dense, but other than that, it should work fine.
I started craving some bread at 8pm at night and couldn’t be bothered to make a run to the store so I subbed the figs and walnuts for apricots and pecans I already had handy and it was delicious!
The figs and walnuts seem like fall and winter flavors and the apricots and pecans almost seemed like a summer version of the original recipe!
So glad you enjoyed this, Vivi and your apricot/pecan version sounds lovely!
This is so fitting and perfect for St. Patty’s Day! Plus I love mixing it up and baking in a cast iron skillet.
Thanks so much, Cindy :) I do love my skillet!
This looks delicious! I would love to make it in a cast-iron pan, but the only one I have is 12 inches in diameter. Should I scale up the recipe, or do you think it would be fine in the larger pan? Thanks!
Thanks Jen and yes, I think I would scale it up for a 12-inch skillet. Maybe 1 1/2?
Thank you so much for your prompt reply! I will give that a try
Wishing I could steal a piece right off my screen Jennifer! It looks delicious! Perfect for St. Patty’s Day!
Thanks so much, Mary Ann :)
This is such a gorgeous bread! Love the addition of figs and walnuts, and that side of honey butter is a must :)
Thanks so much, Laura :)
Hey Jennifer! I love soda bread and never thought to add figs and walnuts. Figs are one of my all time favorite things to eat, dried or fresh. In fact, while traveling in Ireland we carried a package of dried figs to snack on while site-seeing, because there are not many luncheonettes on those country roads! Honey butter is brilliant with soda bread. I don’t know why I haven’t made it more often – you’re right it’s so easy and delicious. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks Tricia and I am a fig lover, too :) I’m going to remember to make this more often this year!
This looks amazing! I tried making soda bread once, once being the operative word here! It wasn’t pretty! I’m excited to give it another shot with your gorgeous recipe!
Thanks Annie :) This one is super easy!
I will be making this bread, Jennifer, (as soon as we finish off Sue’s Muesli Toasting Bread! ?) I was just looking at the dried figs in the Bulk Barn the other day and wondered what I could make with them. Not sure if they were black mission ones? I wonder if that would make a difference. I’m not a connesieur on figs..But this sure looks yummy!
Hi Colleen :) If I recall, Bulk Barn had Black Mission Figs and Turkish Figs. I usually default to the Black Mission, but I suspect the Turkish would be just fine, too. For some reason, I’ve always imagined that the Turkish Figs might be a bit sweeter, but not completely sure about that. Do enjoy in any event. It’s one of my favourites and my husband absolutely inhales it every time I make it :)