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
Save to My Good Food
Please sign in or register to save recipes.


  • 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.

Ads by Google

Comments, questions and tips

Sign in or create your My Good Food account to join the discussion.

Comments (150)

katckam's picture

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

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

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

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 :)

pickle35's picture

My daughter and I Couldnt beleive how quick this took....took longer to measure the ingrediants then mix it and put it onto baking sheet! Its in the oven as we speak and hope that it turns out ok as am cooking for 8 on saturday and want to accompany my home made soup with the bread! Watch this be continued...

jillblom's picture

Follow up to my previous post. The bread actually tasted really good, and it was soft enough. I would definitely make it again for speed, and will vary the tye of flour and perhaps add sundried tomato for added interest.The fluid was too much though so I would reduce this a little bit. Perhaps the fluid quantity works better with yoghurt which is not as runny as milk. Also I think it is very important that you don't do any kneading/overmixing because this will expel the intended gas being produced by the reaction of the soda with the acid. As the recipe says, handle it very gently. This is a good quick bread for those times when you want something 'rustic' at short notice.

jillblom's picture

Mine's just now out of the oven & looking OKish although a bit flat. I would have liked it to rise more. It was difficult to cut a cross on top of such a gloppy mess though - I had to wet the knife. I used half quantities - Allinsons wholemeal bread flour & plain white flour & oatmeal, plus chucked in a couple of Tbsps of poppy seeds. Used left over Yeo Valley plain yoghurt and made up to quantity with semi skimmed milk which was one day out of date, plus a squeeze of lemon juice. Husband is just taking the p*ss because it looks like a cow pat.

lockolegs's picture

Just made this and used 450ml of milk with lemon juice instead of buttermilk. I also used virgin olive oil instead of butter. It looks the part (very rustic) and tastes ok with a bit of butter. I will definitely have another go at making this, probably adding a few olives or something similar.

I'll be taking some to work to have with soup for my morning break and will update my post asap.

trixierocket's picture

This recipe was my first attempt at baking bread of any kind and I was surprised at how easy it was. I baked half quantities and used chopped walnuts instead of oats and soured milk instead of buttermilk and it turned out brilliantly. Both my partner and I were very impressed with the recipe and I will definitely make this again.

kikimac's picture

This is a really great easy recipe, as i'm irish myself i've sampled numerous soda breads over the yrs but have to say this is my fav by far n all my family love it. I'm always getting requests for the recipe, even the mother in law was impressed by this n she's a brill cook!!

sean110202's picture

This recipe is fantastic. I'm Irish and have tasted many different soda bread. The ingredients are spot on. The only thing one needs to be careful with is the amount of buttermilk one uses and not to over kneed the dough. I've made this recipe many times now and have found using just below 500ml of buttermilk keeps the consistency of the dough just right. I normally use 480 to 500ml. I bake at 200 degrees for between 35-40 minutes. The result is always perfect. My girlfriend had never had soda bread before and now is an avid fan!

perrettg's picture

OMG Yum Yum Yum - this bread is gorgeous! I was a bit concerned how wet the dough was but the bread turned out beautiful! Will definitely be making this a regular!

odelle's picture

I add 2 teasp. of salt,
2 0Z. Wheatgerm,
2 0Z. Bran,
2 teasp. Bicarb.
2 teasp. Cream of Tartar,
100g. Spelt flour (Doves),
100g. White Plain flour,
300g. Wholemeal plain flour,
2 tablespoons Medium Oatmeal,
Omit the porridge oats,
Mix carton buttermilk with plain yoghurt to make 500mls. Approx.
Rub in 1 0Z. Butter,

Bake in a deep 9" cake tin, 200 C. fan oven for 45 mins, then when well risen & browning, reduce heat to 180 C. for approx 40 mins. (Depending on the heat of your oven).
Remove from tin for last 10-15 mins until sounds hollow when knocked on the bottom.
A tasty, nutty flavoured, healthy loaf.
It's the only bread I eat....Wonderful!

phyrea's picture

I found the recepie to be VERY wet so I doubled the flour, which was too dry so added another 250ml buttermilk, which was perfect but made a LOT of bread. I'll test the recepie with 400ml buttermilk next time and see if that comes out better.

bennyhs's picture

ooops...forgot to rate. 5*

bennyhs's picture

Just baked my first ever loaf. Absolutely delicious and simple to make! I won't be going back to bland store bought bread anymore.


Questions (2)

Unsure about the cooking time or want to swap an ingredient? Ask us your questions and we’ll try and help you as soon as possible. Or if you want to offer a solution to another user’s question, feel free to get involved…

Be the first to ask a question about this recipe…

Tips (0)

Got your own twist on this recipe? Or do you have suggestions for possible swaps and additions? We’d love to hear your ideas.

Be the first to suggest a tip for this recipe…