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Irish Soda Bread Recipe That’s Super Easy to Make

Irish Soda Bread Recipe That’s Super Easy to Make

Light and hearty, Irish soda bread is a quick bread and easy to make. Best of all, you don’t need a special baking pan. The recipe calls for buttermilk. You can easily make your own buttermilk with the instructions below. 

Making your own buttermilk is pretty easy. Just make sure you allow it to sit for at least 5 minutes before using. All you have to do is combine milk with an acid like lemon juice, white vinegar, or apple cider vinegar. It’s very simple to make.

Traditional, authentic Irish soda bread doesn’t contain raisins and caraway seeds. However, Irish-American soda breads often do.

Irish Soda Bread Recipe

Irish soda bread does not require yeast. It is calls for baking soda and buttermilk as leaveners. Many traditional recipes include raisins, currants and/or caraway seeds. Follow this recipe but feel free to make it your own.  

You can put the dough right on a baking pan to bake. You can also use a stone. You don’t need a special loaf pan. Prep time is just 15 minutes (less if you use store-bought buttermilk) and bake time is 50 minutes. Follow these step-by-step directions to make this recipe for Irish soda bread.

Irish soda bread recipe

Irish soda bread recipe with raisins

Irish Soda Bread Ingredients

  • 4 cups unbleached flour or white flour
  • 4 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk + 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar; let sit for 5 to 10 minutes before using)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

For the top:

  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • ¼ cup buttermilk (¼ cup milk + ½ teaspoon lemon juice or white vinegar; let sit for 5 minutes)
how to make Irish soda bread

It’s easy to learn how to make Irish soda bread

How to Make Irish Soda Bread

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Make the buttermilk by combining the milk and white vinegar in a medium-sized bowl. Note, you need 1¼ cups in total. Set aside.
  3. Heat a baking stone or lightly grease a large baking sheet.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the stick of butter. Fold in 1 cup buttermilk and egg.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 3 minutes.
  6. Form the dough into a round loaf. If using the greased baking sheet, place the loaf on it now. If using a baking stone, place the loaf on a peel.
  7. In a small bowl, mix together the melted butter and ¼ cup buttermilk. Brush the mixture over the top of the loaf.
  8. Use a sharp knife to cut a shallow (about ¼ inch) X into the loaf top.
  9. Put the pan in the oven or use the peel to transfer the loaf onto the heated baking stone in the oven.
  10. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 50 minutes. You can periodically brush butter over the top while baking.
  11. When the loaf is done, the top will be hard and crusty and have a hollow sound when tapped with the end of a wooden spoon.
  12. When done, remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Do not leave the loaf on the pan to cool, this could cause the bottom to overcook.

Serves 12

Pro Tip

While this Irish soda bread recipe is a quick bread and does not require yeast, it will still benefit from kneading the bread by hand. Kneading it will help strength the dough. While you can use plain milk, buttermilk gives the bread a much better texture and flavor. It also helps the bread rise.

Irish soda bread recipe

Irish soda bread recipe doesn’t need a loaf pan

How Do You Store Soda Bread?

Some consider Irish soda bread to be a dry bread. It will taste best when eaten fresh. When storing it, you want to be sure to cool it completely before storing it. Cover it well. Be sure to keep it in an air-safe container. You can leave it on the countertop for 3 – 4 days. 

Can I freeze Irish soda bread?

If you want to freeze Irish soda bread, it will keep for 2 – 3 months. You can also refreeze it. Just be sure it is sealed completely. Wrap it in plastic wrap and then put in airtight container or freezer bag, making sure to get all the air out. 

traditional Irish soda bread

Traditional Irish soda bread has an X on the top

How long does it take to defrost soda bread?

When you are ready to defrost it, take the loaf out of the storage container or bag and set it in the refrigerator. If you leave it overnight, it should be ready to use by morning. 

To prepare it to serve, heat oven to 375 degrees F and set the bread inside for 3 – 5 minutes. You can put it right on the rack or on a baking tray. This will help to refresh the bread. 

Add-In Ideas

  • Raisins and currants
  • Caraway seeds
  • Garlic (one tablespoon of garlic powder)
  • Chives, garlic chives
  • Dark chocolate
  • Chopped figs
  • Cheddar cheese with sliced apple
  • Cacao nibs
  • Toasted almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, pistachios
Irish soda bread with raisins

Irish soda bread with raisins

Serving Ideas

Irish soda bread is delicious when served warm with salted butter and jam, preserves or marmalade for a simple and filling breakfast. Serve it alongside soup and stews. It also works well as bread for sandwiches or as an accompaniment to a meal in the same way you would serve rolls. Add some butter and delight in the simple goodness.

FAQ’s

What is Irish soda bread?

Irish soda bread is a bread that is leavened with the baking soda and the buttermilk rather than with yeast. It’s considered a quick bread. The baking soda combines with the buttermilk, which is acidic, and forms a chemical reaction with the dough. “Soda” in the name of the bread is for the baking soda it requires.

The result is a crusty, dense loaf that isn’t fluffy like other breads. It’s thicker but still has a tender inside. It’s sort of like the consistency of a sponge. It has a tangy flavor and isn’t very moist. While some may consider it to be dry, it’s very flavorful.

What makes Irish soda bread different from other breads is the crusty layer, the dense, almost dry texture — it doesn’t crumb the way many breads do — the round shape, the tang of buttermilk, and the add-ins. You can add caraway seeds, currants, raisins, chives, and more, depending on your tastes. 

Is soda bread better for you than yeast bread?

If you are avoiding yeast, choosing a bread leavened with baking soda and buttermilk is an option. 

loaves of Irish soda bread on cooling rack

Make sure to cool the bread on cooling rack

Is sourdough like soda bread?

Sourdough bread is different from soda bread in that sourdough loaves use yeast as leavening agents. The dough rises from the reaction from yeast and bacteria fermentation. Soda breads rise from the reaction between the acidity in the buttermilk and the baking soda.

When baking bread with baking soda, it will chemically leaven bread dough when mixed with an acid. In the case of this Irish soda bread recipe, the baking soda combines with the buttermilk and produces a chemical reaction that releases carbon dioxide gas. This causes the bread dough to expand and become fluffy.

easy Irish soda bread

Easy Irish soda bread

Why is my Irish soda bread crumbly?

Irish soda bread recipes yield loaves that don’t crumb. If yours is crumbly, it is likely that you used too much flour or not enough buttermilk. Whenever baking with flour, it’s important to ensure you level the flour when measuring it to ensure the exact amount. 

Homemade Irish Soda Bread

I got in the habit of baking breads at home because most all premade breads at the supermarket contain palm oil. My son gets sick from it. Because of this, I have learned to bake all of our breads and desserts from scratch.

After learning a few bread-baking basics, and learning the difference between baking breads with and without yeast, it just keeps getting easier. The great thing about Irish soda bread recipes and others that don’t need yeast is you can put the dough right in the oven without needing to wait for it to rise.

Also, having basic pantry staples on hand makes it convenient to bake bread from scratch. Flour, baking powder, baking soda, granulated sugar, and white vinegar are versatile ingredients you can use to make baked goods. 

This Irish bread can be made with or without raisins. I like putting fruits in breads for a bit of sweetness without extra sugar. Consider making other breads with fruits such as pumpkin bread, coconut bread, and banana bread

If you make this homemade Irish soda bread, please leave a note in the Comments. What did you serve it with?

Irish soda bread
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Irish Soda Bread Recipe

Light and hearty, Irish soda bread is a quick bread and super easy to make. Use a baking stone or a baking pan; no special loaf pan needed. Optional: Add raisins, currants, and/or caraway seeds as you wish. This Irish soda bread is delicious when served warm with salted butter and jam, preserves or marmalade for a simple and filling breakfast. Or serve it with soup and stews.
Best of all, you don't need a special loaf pan. Use buttermilk from the store or easily make your own.
Course Bread
Cuisine Irish
Keyword how to make Irish soda bread, Irish soda bread, Irish soda bread recipe, recipe for Irish soda bread
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 47 minutes
Servings 12

Ingredients

  • 4 cups unbleached flour or white flour
  • 4 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup butter softened
  • 1 cup buttermilk or 1 cup milk + 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar; let sit for 5 to 10 minutes before using
  • 1 egg lightly beaten

For the top:

  • ¼ cup butter melted
  • ¼ cup buttermilk ¼ cup milk + ½ teaspoon lemon juice or white vinegar; let sit for 5 minutes

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • If making buttermilk, combine milk and vinegar in medium bowl. Use directions above to make 1¼ cups of buttermilk. Set aside.
  • Lightly grease a large baking sheet or set baking stone in oven as it preheats.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the stick of butter. Fold in 1 cup buttermilk and the slightly beaten egg.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for about 3 minutes.
  • Form the dough into a round loaf. If using the greased baking sheet, place the loaf on it. If using a baking stone, put the loaf on a peel.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the melted butter and the remaining ¼ cup buttermilk. Brush over the top of the loaf.
  • With a sharp knife, cut a shallow X (about ¼ inch) into the loaf top.
  • Put the pan in the oven or use a peel to transfer the loaf onto the heated baking stone in the oven.
  • Bake at 375 degrees for 50 minutes. Optional: Periodically brush butter over the top while baking.
  • The loaf is done when the top is hard and crusty. It will have a hollow sound when tapped with the end of a wooden spoon.
  • Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Do not leave the loaf on the pan to cool. This could cause the bottom to overcook.

Notes

While this Irish soda bread recipe is a quick bread and does not require yeast, it will still benefit from kneading. It will help strength the dough. Be sure to cool it completely before storing.

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Recipe Rating




Allergy City

Sunday 8th of May 2022

Has anyone made these recipes Gluten Free? If so, how’d it turn out? Which flour blend did you use? Any tips or pointers? Thanks!

Allergy City

Saturday 14th of May 2022

@editor, Thank you! I use Bob’s regularly, a saving grace. I look forward to trying this recipe for I loved it before going gluten-free. I have recently cut palm oil out of my diet, due to it possibly causing dizziness, mood swings, and feeling badly after eating simple things made with palm oil.

Thanks again!!

editor

Thursday 12th of May 2022

I recommend using Bob's Red Mill 1 for 1 Gluten Free Flour. For the best price, I get it on Amazon, Target, or directly on Bob's Red Mill website. It's quite a bit more expensive at the grocery store. It works well in bread recipes as a one-for-one substitute for regular flour.