Irish soda bread

Irish soda bread

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(94 ratings)

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, 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 (148)

Mustardface's picture

Why not buy a scale with grammes and pounds and ounces on? Much easier than having to convert, Amazon has loads. Weighing ingredients really improves baking in my opinion and I grew up in the States, using cups.

corkwoman's picture

Made this recently as I've discovered I have a yeast and dairy allergy. I used rice milk with lemon juice to get the buttermilk consistency. I would definitely reduce the amount of liquid as my dough was quite sloppy and made a flatter than normal bread. Still tasted great though. Tasted fab with your Carrot and Coriander soup.

star2501's picture

This is my second time making soda bread, and this recipe is the best so far...absolutely gorgeous. Going to make broccoli soup in a minute to dunk it in!

scraggs7's picture

please can we have a GLUTEN FREE recipe for soda bread.

danthunder's picture

Forgot to rate!

danthunder's picture

This has worked perfectly each and every time I've tried it. In fact my mum's a bit miffed because she's been trying to find a good recipe for years and I did it first time out! Fantastic with soups and stews.

I often mix the dry ingredients together the night before and then in the morning I can mix in the buttermilk and have some fresh bread to take to work with me!

Not sure why people are having problems though, I've used the exact measurements provided and it's always the right consistency. Maybe some people are using large porridge oats which don't absorb the liquid as quickly?

harveyce's picture

This recipe needs revising. At the least, it should warn about the quantity of liquid & say something like "add enough of the buttermilk to get a soft dough". At best, I'd advise reducing the quantity of buttermilk. I've ended up with a ghastly oversoft mess which no way would hold a round shape. It's a crime to waste ingredients in this way. For what it's worth, it's in the oven, spreading like a map of Europe over the baking sheet, but I am not at all pleased.'s picture

I feel so embarassed that everyone else succeeded where I failed.
I couldn't tap the bottom as it stuck like cement to the baking tray (yes, I floured it with plain!) The tray had to soak in the sink overnight :('s picture

I tried this recipe last night.
My uncooked result was quite dry, like normal bread dough, and took a lot of effort to bind together. (I use half butter milk and, because I didn't have enough, half greek yoghurt.) The end result was rather quite heavy. Should I have added more milk to make it bind easier and to avoid kneeding?

I also cooked it for an extra 15mins and it was still heavy. Would more cooking have improved it?

Tahnks for your advice.

pixiechic's picture

Forgot to rate!

pixiechic's picture

Wow, this bread is amazing! I used 250 live yoghurt and 250 semi skimmed milk and it worked really well. Big loaf that will last and boyfriend is tucking in now saying that its the best bread he's ever had! Much easier not having to use yeast and waiting to rise. Cooked in the right time and I am really chuffed. Love the oats in it as mega healthy and next time will add some seeds and try different things! Love it, thankyou and thanks for the advice about buttermilk substitutes. I used my own made live yoghurt from my easiyo, fab!

soosy10's picture

i made this bead and it was really good , not with the bicarbonate taste some soda bread has .. ..will make again for christmas to serve with smoked salmon

dr-nickyboi44's picture

I normally make normal bread with yeast but had run out of yeast so made this with 250g of Plain flour and 250g Bread flour plus all the other ingredients. I made butter milk with 500ml of semi skimmed milk and white wine vinegar (left for 5-10 mins) to turn it into buttermilk. The result? Fantastic!!! The family love it and I continue to make it. The oats are a nice touch which give great texture.
The good old Irish they are soooooo clever :-)

mounses2's picture

This was my first bread making attempt and it turned out brilliant. As with other people's comments, it was a a very wet recipe but I read in other recipes to handle as little as possible so I just mixed, divded in half and put the two loaves in the oven. Delicious smell in the kitchen for a Sunday morning brunch.

mitchiemoo's picture

Made this recently and used ingredients as shown. Made 2 loaves as there was ample dough. At the end of stated cooking time I tapped the bottoms and decided they could do with another 5 minutes. Turned out perfect and not too salty like some loaves. Could hardly wait for them to cool down before tucking in. Froze the other loaf in portions. Am about to make another lot today. I will use this receipe regularly plus will probably experiment with different flours. Thanks for the nice easy recipe.

beadies4's picture

D'oh! Here is my rating, forgot it in excitement in leaving the first comment.

beadies4's picture

I used Doves Farm Bread Flour and wholewheat flour as I am off the white refined stuff for candida, and it turned out great! Moist and chewy whilst still warm from the oven, I thought that it might be a bit dry from not using all gluten, but it wasn't the case.

I also replaced the buttermilk with Tesco's Value Natural Yogurt and again, the result is awesome. Very happy in fact : )

siobhanh's picture

Sorry was ahead of myself, left wrong feedback for this earlier. v sorry

siobhanh's picture

Lovely recipe, will definitely be making again. Just added a bit of chile powder to give it a bit more of a kick, but thats my personal taste.

martianpoolwoman's picture

This is as good as you find in Ireland and is lovely warm with butter or with leek and potato soup.(BUt the cross was meant as sign of the cross ; not concerning the wee folk) lovely recipe !


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