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Irish soda bread

Irish soda bread

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(92 ratings)

Takes 45-55 minutes

Easy

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

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition per slice

  • kcalories296
  • fat5g
  • saturates3g
  • carbs56g
  • sugars0g
  • fibre5g
  • protein11g
  • salt1.21g
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Ingredients

  • 250g plain white flour
  • 250g plain wholemeal flour
  • 100g porridge oats
  • 1 tsp 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

    butt-err

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

  • 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.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Comments (142)

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!!!..........

justme2's picture
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Mixture was very wet when it was made up. Had to almost pour it onto the baking sheet. Wasn't able to shape it at all. Crossed fingers and hoped for the best. Went to test it after 30 mins, but it had stuck to the baking sheet. Ended up scrapping it off baking sheet and turning it upside down for a few minutes. I think it just need an extra few minutes originally before checking it. All the family loved it anyway. Have some buttermilk left over, so going to have another go this evening. Very quick to make, which is a bonus.

sidporteous's picture

Loved the bread. Recently diagnosed with an intollerance to yeast and made this bread (1st time ever). Loved it after trying four time to get it right. Found that Morrisons cheap Yogurt workad as well as Buttermilk and not so expensive. Thank you.

mrsbstrikesagain's picture
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Lush... just wonderful! give it a go people....

catlover666's picture

Absolutely Delicious I am Irish and it's the best I have ever tried and it stays fresh for a long time unlike most that crumble after 2 days A+++++++++

hodsonc's picture
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I made this for my birthday dinner on St Patricks day along with Beef in Guiness, both were a big hit, the bread was enough for 8 people and everyone commented on how delicious it was, all that was left was a few crumbs of it's existance!!! The addition of oats gave it a wonderful texture. The buttermilk carton was only 284 mls so I added milk with a squeeze of lemon to make up the volume, but it didn't need the full 500ml in this case

karinannapfetzer's picture
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So easy and delicious. We love it toasted with a bowl of soup.

alkaseltzer's picture
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Best soda bread recipe I've used so far. Initially thought it was going to be too wet to shape into a loaf but it came together fine once all the flour from the bottom of the bowl was drawn in

vfinney's picture
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First attempt at making bread :)
Worked very well, only thing I would do is add slightly more bicarb & salt, and i overworked it in the bowl, which gave the mushy glue mixture some people have mentioned, although its perfectly salvageable at that stage using floured hands to make it behave!

Make sure you push it out quite thin as mine was probably left a touch too thick and took longer than it should have to cook, but very pleased with result.

trollfairy's picture
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Yummy

katckam's picture
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An update to my post above, surprisingly tasted ok, had feared it was one for the bin or birds. I used milk soured with lemon so if try again would use half yoghurt or creme fraiche as suggested or try with around 350ml soured milk.

twbegley's picture

Some changes I incorporated for those that live in UK... No such thing as buttermilk. I use 100g plain flour and 400g self raising whole meal flour. For buttermilk, just use 3 Tablespnoons of Creme Fraiche mixed with full fat milk. Don't worry about greasing the tin before hand...invest in some silicon casings and you will not believe the hassle you save.

twbegley's picture

Great recipe Magaret! I've been trying a few different brown soda bread recipes and so far this one comes out top. Thanks for sharing.

katckam's picture
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Disastrous for me, far too wet, had to add loads more flour. Kitchen like a war zone. A seasoned bread maker I compared other recipies all of which state less buttermilk or to add it gradually. Oh well, not used to failing when I bake!

foodfocus's picture
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fantastic loaf and so easy to make, tasted lovely with grated cheese grilled on top and toasted left plain with mackrel pate spread over it.
Also had it warm spread with butter and marmite yum yum.

Adding the liquid to a well in the centre then incorporating the dry ingredients in a circular motion round the bowl blended it together perfectly. Also used half yougart and half milk perfect.

helenburchell's picture
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absolutely yummy, quick & easy. perfect combination of oats for sweetness, wholemeal flour for richness & white flour for lightness. But it took a good 10 mins longer to cook than it says in the recipe.

julietosh's picture

This bread is actually known as wheaten bread in Ulster, soda bread (or soda farl) is made with white flour only. The resulting bread can be fried up along with potato bread (known locally as fadge) and are the staple breads of the Ulster Fry. I haven't tried this recipe yet, so haven't rated. It is too readily and cheaply available in local shops and bakeries in Northern Ireland for me to bother baking it!

angielatham's picture

This recepie is the answer to my breadmaking dreams! I can't be botherd with kneeding & riseing etc so this is perfect....and the bread is delicious, I haven't brought any shop bread since I first made it! I use 1/2 milk 1/2 live yogurt instead of buttermilk (easier to pick up from the corner shop) and as I dont want to use any white flour have been useing SR wholemeal flour and Stoneground bread flour. I also add sunflower,seasame and poppy seeds and its fantastic. So very pleased I came across this recipie :)

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