Irish soda bread

Irish soda bread

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(134 ratings)

Takes 45-55 minutes


Makes 1 loaf

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

Nutrition and extra info

  • for up to 1 month

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 a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 500ml buttermilk
    Buttermilk pancake mixture in bowl with whisk



    There are two types of buttermilk. Traditional buttermilk is a thin, cloudy, slightly tart but…


  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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29th Jan, 2020
I've made this recipe a few times now (and I can smell it in the oven at the moment!) Super simple and very satisfying! Tastes great with: - cream cheese & honey - tomato relish and cheddar (and ham if you feel like it) - butter I find it keeps for about 4 days if it isn't eaten beforehand (in extremely humid QLD weather).
13th Jul, 2019
This was delicious. White flour Irish soda bread is all I have ever made. This was delicious. I made a few changes, making it more similar to the recipe I was familiar with. For the butter milk I used half semi skimmed milk with the second half unsweetened Greek yogurt. Then added 3-4 tablespoons dark brown sugar. For the whole wheat flour I had only very strong whole wheat flour from Sainsbury's. Great crust and high rise! Even our kids enjoyed it, even though they usually prefer white floured breads.
13th Jan, 2019
Simple and delicious. Had warm, buttered, with Irish stew.
Amir Saleev's picture
Amir Saleev
25th Oct, 2018
It such interesting to discover authentic classic reciepe of bread. Its kind of return to that era when all things were brighter and people were smarter and kinder than now. Thank you.
Sarah Lidington's picture
Sarah Lidington
2nd Apr, 2018
Made it for the first time yesterday, easy and delicious! I used skimmed milk with 2 tbs white wine vinegar in place of buttermilk.
15th Dec, 2017
Made this lots of times and it always turns out perfect. Like the recipe states it's better not to overhandle it which is tempting as the dough is very sticky. I mix it up in the bowl and get it into a roundish shape with a palette knife before tipping it out onto the baking sheet and if further shaping is necessary I use the palette knife again before cutting the cross on the top. Easy and delicious.
23rd Oct, 2017
I tried this bread, but the dough was more like a cake mixture. I had to add extra flour to shape it. The taste turned out to be great, but my cake got broken from the side. I guess, probably I could not give a good shape due to the gooyee texture. I will try again with less quantity of butter milk. Could anyone suggest how to stop the breaking? My guess is the misshapen ball of the bread. I will appreciate any help.
Kate Corbs
10th Oct, 2017
Fail proof. We use un pasturised milk which goes off quickly so we often have milk on the turn - leave it for about 4 days out of the fridge and you will have delicious buttermilk. But, any milk going off is usable. You can add any other leftover milks/creams from the fridge - I've used old double cream, yoghurt, and normal milk if you need to top up.
29th May, 2017
I have baked this bread almost every week since discovering it! I throw all the ingredients together and dump the whole thing on a dusted baking tray before quickly and lightly shaping it into a mound. Great bread and the best recipe I've tried being Irish myself ;)
11th Jan, 2017
As others have said, it was great! Mine was extremely sticky, so next time I'll put it in a greased bread tin as suggested. We had it with poached eggs and smashed avocados from the January BBC diet collection, beacause I couldn't find the seeds to make their suggested seeded soda bread. It did take 40 minutes to bake and was still a bit gummy in the middle, even in the convection oven.


27th Aug, 2019
DO you use strong bread flour or just ordinary flour?
goodfoodteam's picture
31st Aug, 2019
Thanks for your question. Soda bread doesn't need strong flour as it is more cake-like than a standard yeast bread. We would always specify strong if needed.
6th Nov, 2013
This sounds delicious. Can't get buttermilk here so will try with yoghurt. Should I use sane quantity (500 ml) or a bit less for yoghurt? Thanks for any help.
28th Jul, 2013
Please convert to American ounces, love your recipes. Lars in Florida
12th Mar, 2017
Here in the States, store bought buttermilk is much thicker than regular milk. So, if I were using regular milk mixed with lemon juice or vinegar, I would use less than the buttermilk. That may help you avoid too wet a dough. Also, I'm surprised to see butter in a soda bread recipe. I've been lead to believe that Irish soda bread is made with only four ingredients: flour, salt, soda, and buttermilk or sour milk. But, every cook has the license to make his or her recipe, his or her own. :)
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