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Easy Irish Soda Bread Recipe

This Irish Soda Bread recipe is an incredibly easy bread recipe with no yeast and perfect for busy nights because it is ready to eat in under 45 minutes.

This is one of my favorite breads to make because of how quickly it comes together. There’s no rising time needed and it only requires a few simple ingredients.

Because of how easy this is to make it’s perfect to make with kids. Older kids can even make this completely by themselves! Serve it warm with homemade butter which is incredibly easy to make!

What is soda bread?

Soda bread is a variety of quick bread which uses baking soda is used as its raising agent instead of yeast. Buttermilk is used which reacts with the baking soda to produce a light and airy dough without a needed proving time. Mix the ingredients together and bake immediately.

Although many cultures have a variation of a quick bread using baking soda, Ireland’s version is perhaps the best known.

A loaf of Irish soda bread next to a tea towel

Ingredients you need:

  • all purpose flour
  • whole wheat flour
  • salt
  • baking soda
  • buttermilk

How To Make Irish Soda Bread:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet with baking parchment or a silicone baking mat.

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Add buttermilk and use your hand or a wooden spoon to incorporate all of the flour into the buttermilk. The dough will be sticky.

Dump the bread out onto a lightly floured surface and shape the dough into a ball. Flatten the ball out a little bit with your hand.

Transfer the dough to the prepared baking parchment. Make a deep cut about 2/3 to 3/4 of the way down the loaf using a knife or bench scraper.

Dust with a light sprinkling of flour and bake for 30-35 minutes until crust is a dark golden brown.

A knife with butter and a slice of soda bread

Tips and Tricks

Can you make soda bread ahead of time?

This bread is intended to be made and immediately put in the oven because the buttermilk and baking soda will begin reacting right away. Have your pan prepared and the oven preheated before adding the buttermilk to the dry ingredients.

You can bake the bread ahead of time and keep in the freezer until you are ready to eat it.

Why is there a cross on Irish soda bread?

The cross on the bread comes from deep cuts you make that help the center of the bread bake. If your soda bread is coming out crusty on the outside but raw in the middle it’s most likely because you are not cutting deep enough into the bread.

Solution: Shape into a circle and make sure to flatten out the circle some before cutting a cross between 2/3 to 3/4 of the way down in the dough.

How long does Irish soda bread last?

The bread will keep for 3-4 days wrapped well in plastic wrap, a ziploc bag, or aluminum foil. Although tasty cold, we like to reheat it slightly in a toaster oven before spreading with butter.

To freeze the bread, wrap tightly in a double wrap of plastic wrap or place in a freezer Ziploc bag and freeze for up to 2-3 months. Allow to thaw at room temperature or freeze the bread sliced and reheat individual slices in a toaster.

Variations

You can use this same basic mixture and add various ingredients to make it more savory or more sweet. Here’s a couple ideas:

  • Add 3/4 cup white cheddar and 1/2 cup chopped raw onion to the batter before adding the buttermilk
  • Add 1 1/2 cups raisins, cranberries, or a mix of both to the dry ingredients. Sprinkle the top of the bread with a 1/4 cup of muscavado sugar (large dark sugar crystals).

A quarter piece of soda bread on a napkin

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A buttery piece of bread on a plate

What to eat with soda bread?

Irish Soda Bread Recipe

A loaf of Irish soda bread next to a tea towel

Easy Irish Soda Bread Recipe

This Irish Soda Bread recipe is an incredibly easy bread recipe with no yeast and perfect for busy nights because it is ready to eat in under 45 minutes.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Course: Side
Cuisine: Irish
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 168kcal
Author: Jade Jones

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Prepare a baking sheet with baking parchment or a silicone baking mat.
  • Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.  Add buttermilk and use your hand or a wooden spoon to incorporate all of the flour into the buttermilk.  The dough will be sticky.
  • Dump the bread out onto a lightly floured surface and shape the dough into a ball.  Flatten the ball out a little bit with your hand.
  • Transfer the dough to the prepared baking parchment.  Make a deep cut about 2/3 to 3/4 of the way down the loaf using a knife or bench scraper.
  • Dust with a light sprinkling of flour and bake for 30-35 minutes until crust is a dark golden brown.

Notes

You can use this same basic mixture and add various ingredients to make it more savory or more sweet.  Here's a couple ideas:
  • Add 3/4 cup white cheddar and 1/2 cup chopped raw onion to the batter before adding the buttermilk
  • Add 1 1/2 cups raisins, cranberries, or a mix of both to the dry ingredients.  Sprinkle the top of the bread with a 1/4 cup of muscavado sugar (large dark sugar crystals).

Nutrition

Calories: 168kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 4mg | Sodium: 341mg | Potassium: 148mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 65IU | Calcium: 56mg | Iron: 1.7mg
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Adapted from Paul Hollywood’s Soda Bread recipe

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