This Fast and Easy Irish Soda Bread shouldn’t be saved for Saint Patrick’s Day only, it should be enjoyed year round! Irish Soda bread doesn’t use any yeast but instead uses buttermilk and baking soda for it’s lift. Don’t expect a typical bread interior, think of it as a cross between bread, a biscuit and a scone. That’s the only way to describe it!
Let’s be clear : Irish Soda Bread is so easy to make that Mr Magpie made it the other day. Not only that, he made a chicken stew to go with it. He texted me saying “ the bread looks sketchy” followed by these texts below. No wonder I keep him around, the sheer entertainment factor alone is priceless!
What is Irish Soda Bread?
Irish Soda Bread is a quick bread similar to a biscuit or scone that uses baking soda as the leavener, not yeast. When you use baking soda or powder in a baked good you lose that inherently fluffy texture that is achieved by using yeast as your leavening agent. This is a coarse, thick-textured bread that honestly reminds me of one big biscuit. Traditionally, Irish Soda Bread has four basic ingredients: flour, buttermilk, baking soda and salt. Nowadays the modern versions add butter, raisins, sugar and occasionally egg. The traditional Irish Soda Bread is fairly bland, but anything slathered in butter and dipped in stew can be amazing!
Irish Soda Bread Tips & Tricks
- This is a fairly sweet bread, so adding in currants or raisins is very common and delicious! Leave them out if you are eating the soda bread with a savoury dish however.
- DO NOT SKIP brushing the loaf with the butter and buttermilk a few times when it’s baking. You will end up with a super thick, amazing crust like you see in the photos. It’s the best part of the entire soda bread!
- Irish Soda bread is better the day that you make it, so don’t make it ahead of time. That aforementioned buttery crust is the best when it’s hot from the oven and slathered in salty butter.
- I wouldn’t recommend freezing Irish soda bread, it’s just going to end up being one heavy disk of bread.
Can I make Irish Soda Bread Without Buttermilk?
Yes and no. This Irish Soda Bread was made with milk that had vinegar added as I don’t always have buttermilk in the fridge so I usually just use that kitchen hack. Add in 1 tbsp of white vinegar to a cup of milk and stir. It will curdle and do the trick! If you don’t add this however, this soda bread will not be successful. It’s the chemistry: you need the vinegar to combine with the baking soda to create carbon dioxide gas bubbles, which then causes the soda bread to rise. It will not rise at all if you don’t have something to spark this chemical reaction.
If you are looking for some more great biscuit recipes try my:
Happy Baking and I hope you all have a wonderful St Patrick’s Day this weekend!
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Fast and Easy Irish Soda Bread
- Prep Time
- 15 minutes
- Cook Time
- 40 minutes
- Total Time
- 55 minutes
- Side Dish
- Karlynn Johnston
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter softened
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 egg beaten
- 1/4 cup salted butter melted
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- Preheat your oven to 375 °F. Lightly grease a large baking sheet or get out a cast iron skillet.
- In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and butter. The butter should be pea sized when worked through the dough.
- Stir in the buttermilk and beaten egg. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly. Form the dough into a round shape and place on prepared baking sheet.
- In a small bowl, combine the melted salted butter with 1/4 cup buttermilk, Take a brush and then brush loaf with this mixture. Use a sharp knife to cut an 'X' into the top of the loaf.
- Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, anywhere from 45 to 50 minutes. Continue to brush the loaf with the butter mixture while it bakes, every 15 minutes.
- Remove and cool slightly. Eat while warm and fresh.
All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.
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Comments & Recipe Tips Share a tip or comment!
AnnaLee Parnetta says
I teach home ec and I love using your recipes in my classroom. We made this recipe today and it went okay…since I only have 27 children cooking all at once in my home ec lab. We divided the bread into three smaller loaves so the kids could take one each home. We used milk with lemon juice instead of vinegar and it went okay but I am gong to try this with buttermilk to see the difference. I would add to the recipe in step two …use a pastry blender to cut in the butter into the flour mixture. Pastry blenders are the bomb! If you ever need a place to test your recipes I would love to be a part of that process….my mom was a recipe tester years ago and with a home ec lab and kids to my access we could have a lot of fun. Keep up the great work!
Can I substitute regular milk for the buttermilk in the wash?
Easy and tasty recipe. After 45 minutes I did turn oven down to 350 and cooked an additional 15 minutes. The crust was already a thick golden brown at this point and sticky doughy right in the inside middle. I’m not sure if this is due to a different oven, altitude etc, but it was perfect with this minor change.
I will be making this recipe in the future and sent on to my girls. It will be added to my family recipe book. Thank you so much and happy cooking!
Can I use this recipe for muffins?