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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!

Soda bread is bread leavened without yeast, but instead baking soda (baking powder, too, but the name comes from soda). These are also called quick bread. Adding buttermilk enhances the rising potential with the chemical reaction between the alkaline soda and acidic buttermilk.

Irish Soda Bread on a white plate

Irish Soda Bread Recipe

I had only made Irish brown bread 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 its 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 an Easy 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 a homemade soda bread. It also helps the loaf to bake evenly.
  • 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. Soda Bread with Raisins is a more traditional option, but I prefer cherries. 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!!!

Slice of Irish Soda bread on a square white plate

Irish Soda Bread

A classic loaf of Irish soda bread!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Yield 6

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 Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 441Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 899mgCarbohydrates: 93gFiber: 3gSugar: 26gProtein: 12g

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70 comments on “Irish Soda Bread”

  1. I would give this is “oh this is good” too – love soda bread…and really, the butter and preserves that go on it.

  2. Yum, your bread looks so pretty. And I love the addition of cherries, I would put dried cherries in everything if I could 🙂

  3. Both of your loaves turned out beautifully, Lizzy. I really like the rustic look of the first one with the deeper cuts.

  4. YUM.

    I’ve never made or had a soda bread. But yours looks too good to resist! Great job Liz!

  5. I love freshly baked bread. Both the breads look delicious and the dried cherry bread makes my mouth water.

  6. I never had soda bread, both the bread looks perfect, especially the one with dried cherry,sound Yummy,well done !!
    Ridwan

  7. One bread I have never tried yet! You have diffinitely inspired me… hopefully will have time this weekend and make this one… looks amazing love it!

  8. Wonderful! I have never baked a single bread in my life, so I’m always impressed to see such perfect achievements. I would love to taste the dried cherry one…

  9. Home baked bread is the best and soda bread is a winner as it’s so much quicker than a yeast bread – yours looks wonderful!
    Mary x

  10. I am admiring how perfectly you made this soda bread. That first pic is so wonderful and then of course the rest with the little black spots on top.

  11. Both loaves look fantastic! I was unsure of how deep to cut my X when I baked this, too. I think you got it just right!

  12. Oh, they’re both beautiful–I especially love the addition of dried cherries!

  13. Both loaves are absolutely beautiful. I love rustic breads like this, especially when they use so few ingredients.

  14. You do have some talent for making bread and rolls! These loaves look amazing as well as delicious. Also, great choice adding the dried cherries, for I am not much of a raisin fan. Have a great day Liz!

  15. Love the dried cherries 🙂 I also made a large X in mine so it was pretty rustic but that’s kind of the point, no?

  16. Beautiful, Liz.
    Dried cherries sound like a great addition.

  17. really beauty dear Lizzy, i love the cherries inside, nice work dear:)

  18. and your pics are amazing. sigh!!

  19. Your bread looks gorgeous Liz.

  20. Your loaf looks great! Next time I make this I’m using dried fruit.

  21. Wow, delicious bread.. Beautiful.
    Presentation is very nice

  22. Oooo, I love the smaller one with the cherries added. Yummo.

  23. Hi Lizzy! Your Irish soda bread looks wonderful! I baked mine over the weekend and we loved it but I decided not to post today. I did share my photos on Facebook. I’m so impressed that you post so many recipes here, your energy is impressive and you always do a great job;-)

  24. A great loaf of bread! I quite admire your final presentation with the honey drizzler right next to it – irresistible!

  25. Great idea with the cherries. And your ‘X’ was perfect. Now that I’ve made soda bread, I think it’s much simpler & faster than making a yeast bread.

  26. Another beautiful baked bread. You need to own a bakery because the world at large needs you. 🙂

  27. Beautiful soda bread! And it’s easy to make.

  28. The loaf looks delicious, as expected! And your honey and jam sides are already giving me ideas for next time!

  29. Lovely! Both looks great & yummy! Well done, Lizzy! 🙂

  30. Haven’t tried it before but I’m sure it tastes yummy ! Your bread always looks so gorgeous !

  31. Your soda bread look perfect! The X was not too deep. I too have only ever made brown soda bread but will have to give this one a try. You are right about eating it freshly baked so making two small loaves is a great idea.

  32. Simply beautiful loaf of soda bread, Lizzy! I made several! I always have soda bread for St Paddy’s Day and this was a very good recipe!

  33. Your’s is so pretty, Lizza – I made some last week and it turned out looking more like a pancake and feeling like a brick – I think I might need to try YOUR recipe!

  34. Your bread looks fantastic! I have been wanting to try Irish Soda Bread and this looks fantastic.

  35. Loved both your loaves. Although it was non-traditional, I added raisins (and, felt guilty) but now I wish I thrown in cherries of cranberries or tried all the other variations tried by our fellow bakers. My Bill ate half a warm loaf. Would love to have your brown bread recipe. Mary Hirsch

  36. Yes! I had Irish Soda bread for the first time recently and I loved it! I am so happy to see that it looks very easy to make myself.

  37. I’m with you on liking brown bread better, but this is lovely and it does make for a nice change of pace, particularly with some high-quality butter.

  38. awesome and fantastic bread

  39. I love a simple bread recipe. If you can add fruit to it it’s like a double bonus! Looks gorgeous btw 🙂

  40. I haven’t baked a irish soda bread. I need to make it. Looks delicious.

  41. This looks delicious, texture and the cross is cut perfectly, not too deep at all! Looks like it has come straight from an irish kitchen. Yum!

  42. I’ve never had soda bread. I guess it’s about time I try it! Looks wonderful Lizzy! 🙂

  43. oh it looks so delicious! I love a good homemade bread and I have never tried soda bread before- until now! I have to try this recipe

  44. Your loaves are beautiful! I need to try one with some dried cherries, that sounds delicious.

  45. My sister made me homemade scones for breakfast this morning! So sweet…and these look equally terrific!

  46. Liz, this looks terrific and absolutely perfect for the season!

  47. I have seen so many beautiful loaves of irish soda bread recently and am very tempted to try baking one myself! Yours look so gorgeous! I love the rustic look!

  48. I’m so used to baking yeasted bread and tends to “forget” baking the non-yeasted ones.

    This soda bread is very beautifully baked and great for St Paddy’s Day!

  49. Your bread looks like the ultimate in soda breads – I would most happily devour it with some jam 😀

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  50. Love the idea of the dried cherries!

  51. 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!

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

  53. 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

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

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

  56. This sounds wonderful!

  57. Wowwowowo, the breads lok perfect , never tried this kind of bread before , I still didn’t get to make your cheesecake 🙁 , 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 ??

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

  59. I have never had soda bread, only read about it, yours look yum and a surprisingly easy recipe too 🙂

  60. 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. 🙂

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

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

  63. 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.

  64. 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

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

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

  66. 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!

  67. 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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