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Irish Soda Bread: the easy recipe for traditional Irish quick bread

Total time: 45 Min
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 10 people
By Cookist

Irish soda bread is a wonderful, flavorful quick bread that you can make in no time. With a cross in the center, soda bread is made with baking soda instead of yeast (hence the name), so you don't need to wait around for hours for your dough to rise.

Irish soda bread is a delicious bread with a tasty but mild flavor not unlike a biscuit. You can add other ingredients to it like raisins, caraway seeds, herbs, or cheese.

Irish soda bread is perfect for making toast, slathering with dollops of butter or jam, or as a side to mop up soups and stews. It's so fast and easy to make, it's sure to become your new favorite quick bread to make at home.

What is Irish Soda Bread?

Irish soda bread is a traditional quick bread that is enjoyed all year round with soups, stews, or toasted and enjoyed with a cup of tea.

Although soda bread is associated with Ireland, originally this type of quick bread was made by Native Americans. When baking soda was invented during the 1800s, it became a standard ingredient across Europe and various countries developed quick bread using it.

Why Does Soda Bread Have a Cross in the Center?

A cross is traditionally slashed into the top of the dough before baking the soda bread. It's said to help protect the home and keep the devil at bay or let the devil out of the bread.

Practically speaking, cutting a cross into the top of the dough helps the heat from the oven get into the thickest part of the bread, ensuring it bakes properly.

Irish Soda Bread Ingredients

Soda bread only requires a few ingredients, most of which you probably have in your home.

Use a mixture of all-purpose flour and wholemeal flour to give your loaf the best flavor.

Buttermilk and baking soda are also essential, as this combination will help leaven the bread so it rises while it's baking.

You'll also need a pinch of salt to flavor the bread. That's it! You can add other ingredients if you like, but these are the basics.

How to Make Irish Soda Bread

It only takes about 45 minutes to make Irish soda bread, with only 10 minutes of prep. It couldn't be easier! Start by mixing 1 cup of white flour and 1 cup of wholemeal flour with salt and baking soda. Stir in the buttermilk until the mixture begins to come together.

Lightly flour a work surface and turn the dough out. Knead your dough until a smooth ball forms. If needed, add more flour. The dough should be soft and not too sticky. Sprinkle the dough with some flour. Place it on a baking tray. Make a deep cross in the dough using a knife. Bake the loaf for 35 to 40 minutes at 425F, or until golden brown.


Tips for Making the Best Traditional Irish Soda Bread

There are a few causes for dry Irish soda bread. There might be too much baking soda in the dough. Another reason is that you haven't added enough buttermilk. Finally, if the bread is baked at too low a temperature, it may dry out.

If you don't have buttermilk, you can use Greek yogurt as a substitute.

The dough should be firm but not sticky.

There are many variations of soda bread. For a heartier loaf, add oats to your dough.

For more flavor, add a small amount of Irish stout such as Guinness.

You can add raisins or dried currants to your soda bread for a hint of sweetness.

What to Serve with Irish Soda Bread

Soda bread makes a great side with soups and stews, especially an Irish stew. You can also enjoy it as toast with butter or jam or on its own with a thick pat of Irish butter. It's also a fantastic sandwich bread.

How to Store Irish Soda Bread

Keep your loaf in an airtight container at room temperature. It should last two to 3 days. Frozen Irish soda bread will last 3 to 4 months.

All-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups
wholemeal flour
1 1/2 cups
Baking soda
1 tsp
1 1/2 tsp
1 1/2 cups


Preheat your oven to 425°F.

Combine 1 cup each of white flour and wholemeal flour, salt, and baking soda.

Mix in buttermilk until the dough comes together.

Lightly flour a work surface. Turn the dough out and knead it until a smooth ball forms. If needed, add more flour.

Dust the dough ball with flour. Place it on a baking tray or large pan lined with parchment paper. Make a deep cross in the dough using a knife.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown.

Slice, serve and enjoy!


Using a mixture of wholemeal and all-purpose flour will give your soda bread the best flavor. However, you can use all white or all wholemeal.

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