You don't need to be Irish to enjoy making this incredibly easy traditional Irish soda bread. This bread is great slathered with butter or eaten with a hearty stew!
What goes into a traditional Irish soda bread
You usually see a lot of recipes for Irish soda bread that contains dried currants, raisins, caraway seeds, and sometimes even chocolate chips. None of these go in traditional Irish soda bread and are mostly Americanised versions of this bread.
This type of loaf is typically a bread meant to be eaten daily, so anything that sweetened it or weighed it down was not used. The only ingredients you need are: flour, salt, buttermilk, baking powder (optionally), and baking soda.
You can read more about the history of Irish soda bread here.
If you want to make this soda bread, but do not have buttermilk, there are a couple of options for you.
The most common solution is to make your own buttermilk by mixing together milk with a teaspoon of lemon juice or distilled white vinegar. Simply mix a teaspoon of the juice or vinegar into your milk and let it sit for about 5 minutes.
You can also mix sour cream or yogurt with some milk or even water.
Customize your bread
Although the traditional recipe is my favorite, there is nothing wrong with any of the add-ins used today. Even in Ireland, they are sold more enriched with butter, sugar, and other add-ins. Here are a few extras you can consider adding to enhance your bread!
- dried currants
- dried raisins
- chocolate chips
- caraway seeds
How to make
Irish soda bread is possibly the easiest bread to make. You'll want to make it every week!
- Heat your oven to 375°F (190°C)
- Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together.
- Mix in the buttermilk and gently incorporate.
- Shape the loaf into a round.
- Cut an X on the loaf
- Bake for 45 - 55 minutes.
You will know when your bread is finished when you knock on the bottom of the loaf and it sounds hollow.
It is one bread that you can prep in moments and bake while you cook dinner so it is ready when your food is ready. Nothing is better than slicing into a hot loaf fresh from the oven.
How to serve
This quick bread is served at meals, usually with butter. It is great to dip into soup or stews, which is how I typically eat it. While it is best as-is, you can also toast it.
The loaf has a tendency to crumble at times, especially if you do not allow it to rest, in general, the texture does not lend itself to making sandwiches.
Soda bread is not meant to last and does not keep for long. You can store it in an airtight container for up to a week at most.
Some will say that you can freeze your loaves but I do not recommend this with a traditional recipe such as this one. It is best made fresh and it will lose some of its integrity if you try to freeze and thaw it. If you were to add sugar and butter into the loaf, you would have better luck freezing it.
Looking for more bread?
You may enjoy this baking this ciabatta or this brioche! Homemade pita or naan bread are super fun to make! These British scones are absolutely amazing.
Traditional Irish Soda Bread
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 ½ - 2 cups buttermilk
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
- Create a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour in the buttermilk, starting with just 1 ½ cups.
- Mix everything together until the mixture just comes together. If the mixture seems very dry and crumbly, drizzle in more buttermilk. The dough should just come together and not be very sticky.
- Shape into a round, and cut an X an inch deep into the center.
- Place in a baking pan, round cake pan, or cast iron pan and bake for 45 - 55 minutes, or until the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when knocked.
I love a slice of soda bread still warm after baking with a little butter and honey! However, some family members would always complain about the taste saying that they can taste the baking soda. (Ummm, it's "soda" bread!) It was a common/traditional practice, however, to wrap the loaf in a damp (not wet) lint free towel when removed from the oven to cool to lessen the baking soda taste. It is also how any left over soda bread was done so it wouldn't harden while sitting on the counter, cupboard or table until the evening meal as well as for overnight to be finished for breakfast the next morning. So I started doing what my great mother did with the damp towel for them.
Amanda Powell says
That is a great tip! Do you mind if I add it to the post to help other people?