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Irish soda bread slice on a white plate with a red handled knife

Irish Soda Bread

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A simple loaf of Irish Soda Bread is quick, comforting and the perfect addition to your St. Patrick’s Day feast. But feel free to make it ALL year long!

Irish Soda Bread on a white plate

Irish Soda Bread

I had only made Irish brown breads before, so I followed this recipe pretty closely except for adding a few tablespoons of sugar. There were only 4 ingredients in this recipe: flour, soda, salt and buttermilk…I didn’t even need to make out a shopping list.  A lovely dense loaf with a perfectly chewy crust came out of my oven after the 50 minute baking time.  I was unsure exactly how to slash the top, so my X may have been a little deep. Despite it’s rustic look, this was a fabulous bread for such minimal effort.  I got the “this is really, really good” response when I cut Bill a slice.

Irish soda bread slice on a white ceramic plate

Tips for Making Irish Soda Bread

  • My Italian friend, Ann, recommends mixing the dough with your hands to give the bread a light and airy consistency. Her version also has a stick of butter and is quite tasty! Using a whisk is perfectly acceptable, too.
  • The dough should be well blended, but not overworked. As with all quick breads (those using baking powder and/or baking soda) will develop tunnels if over-mixed.
  • The dough should be heavy, but not too wet. If it seems too dry you can add a bit more buttermilk.
  • I like to dust my hands with flour to shape the bread into round loaves.
  • Ann uses the wrong end of a fork to cut a deep X into the loaf. I used a sharp knife instead. This provides the classic look of an Irish soda bread.
  • Dusting the top with flour before making the cut will make the X stand out.
  • Adding raisins is a traditional option, though one my family would not appreciate.
  • I’ve added dried cherries in the past, but I’m the only fan of those around here!
  • Bake in a cake pan or cast iron skillet (the skillet will give a better rise).
  • Inserting a knife into the bread at the end of the baking time will tell you if your bread is done. It should come out clean if the bread is fully cooked.

Later, I made a second loaf, a half batch with the addition of 1/3 cup dried cherries. Raisins are another more traditional option. This smaller Irish soda bread loaf was baked for 35 minutes. I hope you all had a marvelous St. Patrick’s Day. Erin Go Bragh!!!

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Slice of Irish Soda bread on a square white plate

Irish Soda Bread

A classic loaf of Irish soda bread!

  • Author: Liz Berg
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Cuisine: Bread, Quick Bread

Ingredients

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (my addition, optional)
  • 2 cups buttermilk*
  • 1 cup dried cherries, optional

Instructions

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees. Grease an 8-inch pie plate or
baking sheet.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt (and sugar if using). Whisk in the buttermilk until the
dough comes together. Add dried cherries, if using.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured surface and knead gently for a minute. It should be
soft and malleable but not overworked. Pat it into a 6-inch dough ball and place in the pan. Cut
an X into the top. Bake for 50 minutes or until golden brown and the X has widened. Cool
completely before slicing.

Notes

Recipe from Baking with Julia.

If you do not have buttermilk on hand, you can easily make your own by mixing 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice with 1 cup of milk (less the one tablespoon). Let rest a few minutes to let thicken and curdle.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 252kcal
  • Sugar: 3g
  • Sodium: 289mg
  • Fat: 1g
  • Saturated Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 51g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 8g
  • Cholesterol: 2mg

 

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70 comments on “Irish Soda Bread”

  1. Love the idea of the dried cherries!

  2. Beautiful Irish Soda bread, Lizzy. You would think it’s made with yeast, yet it’s a lot easier to make. Will give it a try for next year, and do the entire “works” for the festivities!

  3. Your soda bread is just beautiful!! I love your pictures too:-) Hugs, Terra

  4. Your Irish Soda Bread looks amazing! Adding dried cherries? How fabulous it must be! I rather want to eat this bread than sweet greenish cupcakes to celebrate St. Pattys. =P

  5. The bread looks so tempting with all those raisins. Yummm

  6. Lizzy, love this bread with some of my plum sauce/jam. Thanks for the recipe!

  7. This sounds wonderful!

  8. Wowwowowo, the breads lok perfect , never tried this kind of bread before , I still didn’t get to make your cheesecake ๐Ÿ™ , I am so busy these days 24 hrs are not enough in a day . One question , can I halve the cheesecake recipe , will it turn out perfect ??

  9. Very nice! I love a good soda bread, though I’ve never had it with raisins!

  10. I have never had soda bread, only read about it, yours look yum and a surprisingly easy recipe too ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. I tried Irish Soda bread for the first time last year and it was quite pleasant. Your bread looks so delicious and way better than what I came up with! I’ll have to give this one a try! I imagine it to be the perfect vessel for a heaping pile of corned beef and maybe some roasted cauliflower. ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Loved how easy and quick this was. Yours looks delicious!

  13. I’m glad to hear that halving the recipe worked so well. I might do that next time!

  14. I also halved the recipe and I added sugar to the second loaf I made. I thought the extra sugar really made the bread come to life.

  15. Enjoyed reading your blog, check out mine if you get a chance.

    http://bygore.wordpress.com/2012/03/20/irish-soda-bread-todays-baking-with-julia-experience/

    The Irish Soda Bread was surprisingly good, and so easy. Yum.

    Bon Appetit

  16. Beautiful presentation. Your bread looks perfect. Lovely blog Liz.

    ~ Carmen
    http://bakingismyzen.wordpress.com/2012/03/20/twd-baking-with-julia-irish-soda-bread

  17. Looks wonderful. I’ve never actually had authentic Irish Soda bread, so when I made a low-carb version, there was no way of knowing how closely it resembles the real thing. I loved it though! Very good and I will make it again!

  18. Looks wonderful. I will probably make it with my Corned Beef.

    However, Could you please identify how many it serves or what the serving size is? It’s blank.

    Thanks

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