Irish soda bread

Irish soda bread

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(86 ratings)

By

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Cooking time

Takes 45-55 minutes

Skill level

Easy

Servings

Makes 1 loaf

Get the taste of Ireland with this fresh, no-fuss soda bread

Nutrition and extra info

Additional info

  • Freezable
Nutrition info

Nutrition per slice

kcalories
296
protein
11g
carbs
56g
fat
5g
saturates
3g
fibre
5g
sugar
0g
salt
1.21g
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Ingredients

  • 250g plain white flour
  • 250g plain wholemeal flour
  • 100g porridge oats
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 25g butter, cut in pieces
  • 500ml buttermilk

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Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6/fan 180C and dust a baking sheet with flour. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl, then rub in the butter. Pour in the buttermilk and mix it in quickly with a table knife, then bring the dough together very lightly with your fingertips (handle it very, very gently). Now shape it into a flat, round loaf measuring 20cm/8in in diameter.
  2. Put the loaf on the baking sheet and score a deep cross in the top. (Traditionally, this lets the fairies out, but it also helps the bread to cook through.) Bake for 30-35 minutes until the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. If it isn’t ready after this time, turn it upside down on the baking sheet and bake for a few minutes more.
  3. Transfer to a wire rack, cover with a clean tea towel (this keeps the crust nice and soft) and leave to cool. To serve, break into quarters, then break or cut each quarter in half to make 8 wedges or slices – or simply slice across. Eat very fresh.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, February 2003

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Comments, questions and tips

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Comments

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chicitysue's picture

I am sorry several people had got hard bread from using this recipe. Part of cooking is the technique. The recipe says, "then bring the dough together very lightly with your fingertips (handle it very, very gently)." Notice your are not really "kneading" the dough. You also have to do this as fast as possible. The bicarbonate of soda reacting with the buttermilk or soured milk is the leavening that makes it rise. It starts immediatly so you have to be quick and your oven has to be ready. Also many recipes say make sure you do not use bread flour and some suggest using some cake flour. Irish wheat was a soft wheat. Also, many notes on soda bread recipes say it shouldn't be wet or dry, so you may have needed to add a bit of flour or of buttermilk to make it the right consistency. I doubt if those who hated it will try again, but I hope newcomers will be careful on their techniques. It's a type of "quick" bread.

catralense78's picture
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A great recipe. Simple, no fuss and the end results taste amazing.

wallyfrenchchef's picture
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Fantastic. Tastes great, textures great. Very easy to make. Substituted buttermilk for milk + lemon juice worked amazing. Even the French love it. Don't think I'll ever make one that'll be let cool down before it is eaten. Will be making more very soon.

qas5saq's picture

Used milk that had just gone off and all white flour. Needed a bit more flour than the recipe stated, as the dough would have been too sticky. Also baked it for longer. Came out lovely. Will make again.

renster's picture

just made this, but forgot to put the salt in does salt make it rise or is it just for taste?

emmabox's picture
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I read the comments and thought I give it a try. I used (selfmade) sour milk and was a bit concerned because the dough was VERY moist and lumpy but in the end it was very lovely. Next time I think I'll use yogurt and bake it in a round baking pan.

lallykins8's picture
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I love this bread, i vary what flours i put in too, like rye flour and more wholegrain, or more oats etc :)

favourite bread.

lallykins8's picture
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I love this bread, i vary what flours i put in too, like rye flour and more wholegrain, or more oats etc :)

favourite bread.

Lee Causseaux's picture
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This is a very easy bread to make and the feedback from friends was very positive. It is one of the best tasting soda breads we have had.

Next time I will reduce the amount of salt by just a tad bit.

goodfoodgoodfood's picture
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I made this using buttermilk and made it using natural yoghurt. I prefer the one made with the yoghurt plus its cheaper than buttermilk

charlotteparry's picture
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i have just tried mine lovley )i made my own buttermilk with milk and lemon juice and a drop of vinger x

mmclaugh's picture
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Excellent result for such an easy and quick recipe. Lovely thick crust and texture. Perfect accompaniment for soup or salad. Will be a family favourite I'm sure

giuliamazza1's picture
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Easy and delicious, it was my first attempt and very pleased with the result!

johnbackhouse's picture
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Excellent recipe and an extremely easy introduction to making soda bread.

squeaksquara's picture
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I'm lactose intolerant so for a substitute I used margarine, and lactose free milk with half a lemon squeezed into it, then left on the side for 5 or so mins to curdle. May sound strange to some of you but it worked perfectly and tasted exactly the same. My mixture was very runny though (maybe it isn't if you use buttermilk, not sure) so baked it in a pie tin which worked grand.

I made this for my boyfriends dad when I went to stay with them in Ireland. His dad was born and has lived in Ireland his whole life, and said that was the nicest Soda bread he'd ever had. Fantastic recipe. So easy too!

arc01160's picture
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My grandmother is Irish and used to make this for us when we were kids. This recipe is very close to replicating that. I made buttermilk by adding lemon juice to warmed milk - worked fine. The mixture was VERY wet - seriously it was like porridge. I added axtra flour but I still ended up putting a big pile of gloop on the baking tray. It came out fine - a little more rustic looking than expected but at the end of the day the taste was great. Tip - don't put all of the milk in at once put 3/4 in and see how you go..........still a great recipe though will have anither go with less milk. Also I never remember seeing my grandmother put oats in the mixture but it worked just fine

trpengelly's picture

Amazing! Such a lovely, lovely bread. Have made many times and expect to make it many times to come :)

pjshaw's picture

As there is no yeast to raise the loaf the production of carbon dioxide from the chemical reaction of bicarbonate of soda and acid ( citric acid from lemon juice, lactic acid from buttermilk or yoghurt or tartaric acid as cream of soda, or even a teaspoonful or two of vinegar) will have the same effect. This is an immediate chemical reaction and kneading will knock this gas out of the dough, so kneading is a no-no.With yeast the fungus will continue to grow so that kneading to elasticate the gluten of wheat flour will improve the texture of the crumb when compared with soda bread.

pjshaw's picture

As there is no yeast to raise the loaf the production of carbon dioxide from the chemical reaction of bicarbonate of soda and acid ( citric acid from lemon juice, lactic acid from buttermilk or yoghurt or tartaric acid as cream of soda, or even a teaspoonful or two of vinegar) will have the same effect. This is an immediate chemical reaction and kneading will knock this gas out of the dough, so kneading is a no-no.With yeast the fungus will continue to grow so that kneading to elasticate the gluten of wheat flour will improve the texture of the crumb when compared with soda bread.

rolandofaley's picture
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very easy to follow, struggled a bit with the mixture after adding the buttermilk trying to get it in the right shape, sprinkled with flour to help it gel together and it worked a treat............i come from an irish family so there was a tough audience........... and they loved it!!!..........

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