Irish soda bread

Takes 45-55 minutes


Makes 1 loaf
Get the taste of Ireland with this fresh, no-fuss soda bread

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per slice

  • kcal296
  • fat5g
  • saturates3g
  • carbs56g
  • sugars0g
  • fibre5g
  • protein11g
  • salt1.21g
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  • 250g plain white flour
  • 250g plain wholemeal flour
  • 100g porridge oats
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
    Bicarbonate of soda

    Bicarbonate of soda

    Bicarbonate of soda, or baking soda, is an alkali which is used to raise soda breads and full-…

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 25g butter, cut in pieces



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 500ml buttermilk


  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.

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Comments (150)

Snoweider's picture

Made this for the first time yesterday, used milk soured with a bit of lemon juice and was absolutely delicious. Its a lot sloppier than the dough for my old recipe, but comes out much nicer. Will definitely be making again.

pollynotsosharpe's picture

this is wheaten bread not soda

keav.'s picture

An excellent recipe, tried it many times! Lovely with carrot and coriander soup! I also add a a dessertspoon of honey and a dessertspoon of black treacle for extra sweetness and flavor.

Bigspottedcat's picture

OK - made this over 10 times now and have a few pointers for beginners:

1. Use a sieve for the flour and Bicarb

2. Baking Soda does not work as well as Bicarb

3. Throw the buttermilk all in one go - don't mix through in stages. Be QUICK

4. Mix rapidly with a knife and treat the dough gently

5. Lay it out thinly

Mine takes 45 min.

Mustardface's picture

Baking soda is the same thing as Bicarb. Bicarb is short for Bicarbonate of Soda. Did you mean baking powder?

ashley_lg_williams's picture

I took a chance on the milk soured with lemon juice and wasn't confident that the sloppiest, roughest dough I have ever produced by any method, would do what it was supposed to in the oven - but it was absolutely wonderful. Looked a bit like a hedgehog, but toasted with some smoked cheese and onion relish it tasted heavenly!

fbexon's picture

Made a few times now, always turns out well. This recipe produces very traditional tasting soda bread. Definitely recommended if you want a taste of Ireland, the shop bought stuff in the UK isn't nearly as good.

katychalmers's picture

I have made this recipe a few times and it always tastes greats, the only problem I have is when I put the buttermilk and stir it doesn't all seem to mix together has anyone else had this problem?

teefrancis's picture

This was the first time that I have attempted bread of any description, and it was perfect. I substituted plain yoghurt for the buttermilk and it was so tasty and moist. About to make my second batch :)

jctomkins's picture

Just made this for a St. Patrick's Day brunch. Couldn't get buttermilk so used plain yoghurt instead and it was delicious!

Really easy to make and a very satisfying to eat.

maxmolly's picture

Have used this recipe many times ! Altered ingredients slightly to suit my other half,added an additional 100 grams of oats and 1 extra tsp bicarbonate of soda. Thanks to other readers for the tip on how sour the milk with lemon juice. I have used 250 ml yoghurt and 250 ml milk

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

A great recipe. Simple, no fuss and the end results taste amazing.

wallyfrenchchef's picture

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

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

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

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

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.


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