This fun clover-shaped loaf is whole grain baking at its best—taste, texture, and looks (a triple threat!). And since it’s a soda bread, made with buttermilk and baking soda instead of yeast, it’s ready in just about an hour.
Preheat oven to 450° F. Line a cookie sheet or other shallow baking pan with parchment paper or lightly grease it. Heat a dry skillet over medium heat and toast steel cut oats, shaking intermittently, until browned and fragrant, about 5-7 minutes. Reserve 1 tablespoon for topping, and let the rest cool.
In a large bowl, whisk together the bread flour, whole wheat flour, salt, baking soda, and 2 teaspoons sugar. Stir in cooled, toasted steel cut oats. Using the tips of your fingers or a pastry cutter, rub or cut the butter into this flour mixture until crumb-sized.
Make a well in the center of the mixture, like a volcano, and pour in the vegetable oil and buttermilk. Stir together wet and dry ingredients until uniformly moistened. Dough will be fairly wet. Dust the dough and your hands with more bread flour, and knead a few times. Shape and gather it as best you can into a smooth ball. Place on prepared pan and pat down slightly.
Brush the loaf with 1 tablespoon buttermilk or milk, and sprinkle a pinch of sugar and the last tablespoon of toasted oats over the top. Slash top deeply in a cross with a serrated knife — go at least halfway down the height of the loaf. You want the triangles to spring apart in the oven.
Bake for 15 minutes in preheated 450° F oven, then reduce heat to 375° F, and bake another 20-25 minutes. Loaf will split into four triangles along the cross-shaped slashes, and will brown deeply. Check after 10 minutes and cover loosely with foil if you’re concerned about the points burning.
Allow loaf to cool on a wire rack for about 15 minutes before slicing.
1 Tbsp buttermilk or milk
1 pinch granulated sugar
1 Tbsp toasted steel cut oats, reserved from the 1/2 cup above
Note: You may also choose to bake this in a loaf pan. Serve with butter, jam, or honey, or alongside soup or stew.
This recipe yields a generous loaf, with at least 10-12 slices.
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