Irish soda bread

Irish soda bread

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

  • 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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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.
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.
Lee Causseaux's picture
Lee Causseaux
13th Nov, 2012
This is a very easy bread to make and the feedback from friends was very positive. It is one of the best tasting soda breads we have had. Next time I will reduce the amount of salt by just a tad bit.
24th Oct, 2012
I made this using buttermilk and made it using natural yoghurt. I prefer the one made with the yoghurt plus its cheaper than buttermilk


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