Irish soda bread is a delicious hearty quick bread and is great served with any cozy meal.
This easy bread recipe is made with a combination of wheat flour and white flour and doesn’t require a lot of kneading or rise time. If you’d like, a handful of raisins or currants can be added.
The Origin of Irish Soda Bread
Irish Soda Bread originated in the 1800s when baking soda was introduced to Ireland. This bread was made with ingredients commonly found in kitchens at the time: sour milk, wheat flour, and soda.
Back then, people cooked over open hearths, and soda bread was baked on griddles or in iron pots. This bread has a cross cut into the top of a flattened round loaf. For more information on the history of this bread, click here.
Today, we use buttermilk instead of sour milk. If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make your own sour milk with one cup of milk and one tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice. Stir the mixture, then let it stand for five minutes before using it in your recipe.
How to Make Irish Soda Bread
This Irish bread is a quick bread that uses baking soda instead of yeast to make it rise. The best part is that you don’t have to wait around for long rising times and it takes just minutes to prepare.
- Dry ingredients: Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl per recipe below.
- Wet ingredients: Stir in the egg and buttermilk a little at a time. Knead the bread just until smooth.
- Shape & Bake: Shape into a circle, cut a ½-inch X in the center, and bake until golden brown.
Storage & Leftovers
This will keep well on the counter for a day or two. If you want to keep it longer, it’s perfect to slice and freeze.
- To freeze a loaf, let the loaf cool then place in an airtight container or zippered bag, and pop in the freezer with a date.
- To freeze a slice, wrap leftover slices individually in plastic wrap and pop into a zippered bag.
- When ready to enjoy, remove from the freezer and let thaw on the counter.
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Irish Soda Bread
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cups buttermilk divided, or as needed
- 1 egg
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
- Add the egg and half of the buttermilk. Stir to combine.
- Continue adding the remaining buttermilk a little bit at a time, stirring just until the dough holds together.
- On a lightly floured surface, form the dough into a 9-inch circle. Cut a cross shape ½-inch deep across the top.
- Transfer the dough to a parchment lined baking pan.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the bread is lightly browned and sounds hollow when tapped.
- Allow the bread to cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
- You can make your own buttermilk substitute by adding 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to 1 3/4 cups of milk. Let the mixture stand for 5 minutes before using.
- This bread is best served fresh but can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- Optional additions include 1/2 cup of raisins or currants.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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Serve with Lamb Stew.
This Irish Soda Bread Recipe has been adapted from The Cross Cookbook, an old church cookbook written with a typewriter. The submission was made by Sr. Ida Mary.