Irish soda bread

Irish soda bread

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(144 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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20th Mar, 2013
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 :)
17th Mar, 2013
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.
15th Mar, 2013
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
14th Mar, 2013
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.
6th Mar, 2013
A great recipe. Simple, no fuss and the end results taste amazing.
24th Feb, 2013
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.
19th Feb, 2013
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
20th Jan, 2013
just made this, but forgot to put the salt in does salt make it rise or is it just for taste?
14th Jan, 2013
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.
26th Nov, 2012
I love this bread, i vary what flours i put in too, like rye flour and more wholegrain, or more oats etc :) favourite bread.


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