Irish Soda Bread
This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, please visit my disclosure page.
Traditional Irish Soda Bread is a type of quick bread that uses baking soda and buttermilk instead of yeast as a leavening agent. The ingredients used to make this hearty, crusty, dense and delicious loaf of bread are flour, salt, baking soda, sugar, and buttermilk.
Irish Soda Bread that is traditionally served in Ireland does not contain raisins, orange zest, nuts, egg, or butter. It is a simple, quick bread that can be made quickly before the meal.
The adjustments were made by the American-Irish looking to branch out and add something to this basic bread. Personally, I love it just the way it is!!
Images updated on February 18, 2022 using real buttermilk.
Ingredients you will need
- All-purpose flour is mixed with sea salt, baking soda, and a small amount of sugar (which is optional).
- Buttermilk creates the chemical reaction with the baking soda to make the bread rise. Check below for a non-dairy substitution if needed.
Be sure to check out the detailed printable recipe card below
how to prepare Traditional Irish Soda Bread
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat liner and set aside.
Place flour, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl, and whisk to combine.
Add enough buttermilk to make a stiff dough.
Be careful to not overwork the dough. The dough should be very soft, but not soggy.
Place dough on a lightly floured surface and shape it into a large round. Lift it up and place on the prepared baking sheet. Cut a “cross” in the top of the dough with a sharp knife about an inch deep across the entire surface to ward off evil spirits…..or to let the fairies out, whichever you prefer.
Place in preheated oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until golden brown and loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom when tapped with your fingers.
Remove from oven and wrap in a clean tea towel. Place the wrapped loaf on a wire rack to cool slightly. The towel traps the steam which helps to soften the crusty exterior.
Slice it up and slather with softened butter. Serve with a nice cup of tea, bowl of Creamy Parsnip and Apple Soup, or Guinness Pot Roast.
The buttermilk in the dough contains lactic acid, which reacts with the baking soda to form tiny bubbles of carbon dioxide. Do to a severe lactose intolerance, I use coconut milk (the kind in a box found in the dairy section) mixed with apple cider vinegar to create my own buttermilk.
This makes the bread a bit more dense than usual, but it doesn’t make me sick so that’s a good trade off in my book.
Tools used to create this recipe
You can see the rest of my favorite kitchen tools and gadgets here in my Amazon Affiliate Page. I earn a small commission when you purchase through my links, at no cost to you, so I can keep bringing you more delicious recipes!
- Large Mixing Bowl
- Large Dough Whisk
- Measuring Cup – liquid
- Measuring Cup – dry
- Sharp Knife
- Baking Sheet
- Wire Cooling Rack
- Parchment Paper Sheets
- Tea Towels
More quick bread recipes
If you love this recipe, please rate it five stars and help me share on facebook and to help other readers in our community!
Irish Soda Bread
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1.5 teaspoon sea salt 1-1/2 teaspoon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar optional
- 1.75 cups buttermilk 1.5 to 1.75 cups
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat liner, set aside.
- Place flour, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl, whisk to combine.
- Add enough buttermilk to make a stiff dough. Dough should be very soft, but not soggy. Add additional buttermilk if too dry.
- Place dough on a lightly floured surface and shape it into a large round. Lift it up and place on the prepared baking sheet. Cut a "cross" in the top of the dough with a sharp knife about an inch deep across the entire surface to ward off evil spirits…..or to let the fairies out, whichever you prefer.
- Place in preheated oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until golden brown and loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom when tapped with your fingers.
- Remove from oven and wrap in a clean tea towel. Place the wrapped loaf on a wire rack to cool slightly. The towel traps the steam which helps to soften the crusty exterior.
- Combine 1.75 cups milk (unsweetened cashew or coconut milk) with 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar to make non-dairy buttermilk.
- Store leftover bread in an airtight container on the counter for up to 3 days.
I actually love a dense bread so this looks especially delicious to me!
Thank you Cathy. It’s actually really good. 🙂
Wonderful and unique looking bread Lisa 🙂
I’ve never eaten Irish-soda bread and I would definitely looooooooooove to try!
Thank you so much Winnie. 🙂
Great post. I like to make Irish Soda bread, visiting Ireland I fell in love with it. Here in Portugal we don’t have buttermilk for hand, so I use the same vinegar method with regular milk. Depends on the occasion, but I love to add raisins to it sometimes. Ease quick and simple bread! Love it.
Thank you so much!! 🙂
I love soda bread — it’s the easiest way to enjoy homemade bread! Pinned. 🙂
I love homemade bread of any kind! Looks delish, Lisa!
Lovely! I’ve never made this before but I believe I’ll give it a try. Thanks!
Thank you so much Jennifer. 🙂
This looks so tasty, I love soda bread…. Definitely will be trying this, thanks for sharing.
Thank you Nadine, I hope you enjoy it. 🙂
Ooh. Just looking at this takes me back to family St. Patrick’s days….
That looks delicious…and with no raisins, or whatever they usually put in. I love it!!
How can I thank you for sharing this great recipe! I’m allergic to dairy so I’m definitely going to try this with the almond milk. It’s look so yummy and what a great idea to use whole wheat flour. Thanks again.
Hmm, I always thought that it is too difficult to make bread, however, it seems that it is not as difficult as it seems. Thanks for the recipe!
You’re welcome Kathie. One of my goals is to show everyone how simple bread is to make, even yeast breads. Good luck. 🙂
My mother made soda bread but I remember it being more moist than the recipes I have tried. Is there a way to do this?
Have you tried using cake flour instead of all-purpose? This is the recipe that I have always used, so I am not sure what the differences would be other than using a more traditional flour.