This recipe for traditional Irish soda bread makes a fresh, dense, delicious loaf that’s ready to serve within the hour!
And don’t forget about the heavenly, homey aroma when it comes out of the oven! This quick bread is perfect when you don’t have time for yeast bread, or just need a quick carb fix! Irish soda bread is delicious plain and slathered with butter, or with raisins or caraway seeds mixed in. And no traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner would be complete without a loaf of Irish soda bread on the side!
What is Irish Soda Bread?
Irish soda bread is a round loaf that uses baking soda instead of yeast to make it rise. Originating in Ireland in the 1800s, Irish soda bread was traditionally cooked on an open hearth in iron pots or on griddles. It has a mild flavor similar to biscuits which makes it a perfect accent for butter, jam, or as a sandwich bread.
Our Favorite Quick Bread
- One of the original quick breads, Irish soda bread only needs a few minutes of mixing and shaping to create a delicious loaf with a heavenly aroma! Even new-ish bakers can feel confident making a perfect loaf every time!
- Make and use all week for breakfast toast, French toast, sandwiches, or to sop up the delicious broth from a hearty beef stew or beef tips and gravy.
- Ready in less than an hour, make a loaf of traditional Irish soda bread in a Dutch oven, a baking sheet, or a skillet, whatever is on hand!
- Makes any Irish celebration complete. Serve a thick slice of buttered Irish soda bread next to a savory dinner of corned beef and cabbage.
Ingredients and Variations
Flour: For the best texture, use a blend of half-white and half-wheat flour. For gluten free Irish soda bread, use your favorite gluten-free baking mix and follow the conversion guide on the package.
Buttermilk: Buttermilk is necessary for the unique flavor of Irish soda bread, yet few kitchens have it on hand. If you don’t have any buttermilk, try these easy DIY recipes to get just what you need:
- Stir 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar into 1 cup of milk and let it set for 5 minutes before using.
- Use ¾ cup of sour cream or yogurt thinned with ¼ cup of milk or water.
- Mix 1 ¾ tablespoons of cream of tartar in a cup of milk and let it set for 10 minutes before using.
- Kefir (a fermented milk drink), is similar to buttermilk and can be used in the same volume.
Extras: Make savory Irish soda bread by mixing in spices like caraway seeds, cardamom, or allspice. Make a sweeter version by adding raisins or currants and a little bit of honey, if desired.
How to Make Irish Soda Bread
- Whisk dry ingredients together in a bowl (as per the recipe below).
- Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend the butter pieces into the flour.
- Slowly add buttermilk, mixing it into a dough, and then shape into a large disc.
- Score the top of the dough with an X. Cover and bake for 35 minutes, remove the lid, and bake until golden brown.
Tips & Tricks
- Check the baking soda to make sure it is still fresh!
- Avoid overmixing the dough otherwise, it will become too dense and heavy.
- Store Irish soda bread at room temperature for up to 2 days (but it’s best eaten the same day).
- Freeze a whole loaf or slices by wrapping them in plastic wrap and then put them into zippered bags for up to 2 months.
- Thaw a loaf at room temperature or place slices in the toaster!
Irish Soda Bread
- Preheat oven to 450F. Line a dutch oven* with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda. Add cold butter and cut butter into the flour using a pastry cutter or fork.
- Add buttermilk slowly, mixing with a spatula or wooden spoon until it forms a soft dough, similar to a thick batter. Transfer dough onto the parchment paper and form it into a round shape. Score an X into the top of the dough using a bread lame or a sharp knife.
- Cover and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for 10-12 more minutes, or until golden brown.
- Serve with butter. This bread is best eaten the day of.
- *This can be baked on a baking tray or in a skillet. It will not rise as much as in a dutch oven.
- Be sure to use baking soda that is fresh for best results.
- Do not overmix the dough.
- Keep Irish soda bread at room temperature for up to 2 days (but it’s best eaten warm and fresh!).
- Freeze the loaf, or slices, wrapped in plastic wrap and then placed into zippered bags for up to 2 months.
Nutrition information does not include optional ingredients or garnish and is an estimate. It may change based on actual ingredients and cooking methods used.
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Recipe from Baker Bettie