Traditional Irish Soda Bread

I’m a soda bread girl from way back – even before I met my Irishman. Just after I finished school, a friend of mine had an Irish boyfriend who used to make the best weekend breakfast. A traditional Irish soda bread was always on the table along with bacon and eggs whenever a Sunday morning (post big night out) pick me up was in order!

This is my version. A little sweeter than some, but I just love a good dash of honey in my loaf. Enjoy!

A black cast iron casserole with a golden loaf of soda bread in it. A small bowl of honey with a honey dipper sit beside.

Why you are going to love this soda bread recipe

You’ll have this no-yeast bread assembled, baked, and out of the oven in under an hour. I know right! Who doesn’t love having an easy quick bread recipe up their sleeve for those Sunday mornings when the pantry is bare?

It’s a handful of pantry staple ingredients. It’s rare that I can’t scramble together the ingredients for a loaf of bread with what I have on hand. 

It makes the BEST toast on day 2! Pop a slice in the toaster and smother it with butter or this homemade fig jam

What you need to get started

  • Plain, all-purpose flour. Don’t bother with bread flour for this one, you don’t need it. Regular plain flour will do the job.


  • Sea salt flakes. I am a huge fan of Murray River Salt Flakes. It’s my go-to sea salt. Maldon salt is another favorite.


  • Baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)


  • Runny Honey


  • Buttermilk – if you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can easily make your own by combining 1 cup of regular whole milk with 1 tbsp lemon juice in a measuring jug or small bowl. Leave for a couple of minutes until it curdles and you’ve got buttermilk!


  • Oats – I like to finish my soda bread loaves with a scatter of oats on top. It gives a little crunch to the top and I just like it!
All the ingredients you need to make Irish soda bread on a blue background.

Variations

Where does one start? Dried raisins, currants, caraway seeds, and fresh herbs like rosemary are all small variations that will subtly change the flavor of the loaf without adjusting the core ingredients. Looking for a flavored version of this recipe? Check out my Bacon and cheddar soda bread recipe.

Want to cut down on the sweetness? While this is a savory bread, I love a little hint of sweet. If you would prefer a less sweet version of this soda bread, cut down the honey to 1 tablespoon.

Here’s how to make this classic Irish soda bread recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.


  2. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Give it a 10-second whisk to aerate the flour and break up any lumps before popping it aside.


  3. In a small bowl /measuring jug combine the honey and the buttermilk. Give it a good stir. 


  4. Make well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add the buttermilk mixture to the mixing bowl with other ingredients. Using a large wooden spoon, Stir just to combine, but no more. The mixture should be a bit a little sticky, but not overly so. This is completely normal. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and lightly form the dough into a ball with the top flattened a little. Soda bread dough should only just come together. It should not be kneaded more than a couple of times to bring it together.


  5. Place the dough on a floured piece of parchment paper. 


  6. Using a sharp knife (a small serrated knife works a charm), score the top of the loaf with a cross about 1/3 of the loaf deep. 


  7. If you have any remnants of the buttermilk in the jug, brush it on top of the loaf. Scatter the top of the bread with rolled oats.


  8. Lift the soda bread (by the paper) into a small, oiled Dutch oven and pop into the preheated oven. Bake for 40 minutes or until golden and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the base.

Cooks Notes

Make sure that you score the top of your loaf. Why do we cut a cross in the top of soda bread? Not only will it help the loaf cook evenly it also lets the fairies out! Very important! 

Equipment

I bake my soda bread in my Le Creuset 20cm cast iron casserole. It’s the perfect size for a small loaf of soda bread or sourdough. If you don’t have a small Dutch oven a regular baking sheet of cast iron skillet will also do the job. I find I get a better crust on the base of the loaf by baking on cast iron as opposed to a baking sheet, however, both will work. Cooking in a cast iron pan without enamel? Here’s how to keep your cast iron seasoned and rust-free.

You’ll also need a large mixing bowl, measuring cups and spoons, and a wooden spoon. A small serrated knife like a Victorinox steak knife is my weapon of choice when I’m scoring a load of soda bread.

How to eat…

Slathered in butter. Bonus points if it’s Irish butter. Kerry Gold is my go-to when I can get my hands on it!

Alongside a warm pot of soup or hearty Irish stew.

Make the BEST bacon and egg (or ham, cheese, and chutney) sandwich ever. Don’t forget to finish it by popping it on a griddle and toasting it a little on both sides. Yum!

​With a little mixed berry jam or honey for your morning tea.

Storage

Soda Bread is best eaten on the day that it is baked. However, the next day (and day after) I toast the bread for the BEST breakfast toast around. A loaf rarely lasts longer than a day or two in our house. But on the rare chance that it does, store in an airtight container at room temperature.

You can also slice it, wrap individual slices in cling wrap, and freeze until needed. 

A baked loaf of Irish soda bread in a black enamel cast iron pot.

St Patrick’s Day is just around the corner…

x

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
A black cast iron Dutch oven with a loaf of soda bread in it and a pot of honey beside.

Traditional Irish Soda Bread

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star No reviews
  • Author: Emma Lee
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 1 loaf 1x
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Irish

Description

This traditional Irish soda bread recipe is an easy, rustic loaf of bread that you can prep and bake in under an hour. Winner!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 450g plain flour
  • 2 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate soda
  • 2 tbsp runny honey
  • 360ml buttermilk
  • 1 tsp rolled oats

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Give it a 10-second whisk to aerate the flour and break up any lumps before popping it aside.
  3. In a small bowl /measuring jug combine the honey and the buttermilk. Give it a good stir. 
  4. Make well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add the buttermilk mixture to the mixing bowl with other ingredients. Using a large wooden spoon, Stir just to combine, but no more. The mixture should be a bit a little sticky, but not overly so. This is completely normal. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and lightly form the dough into a ball with the top flattened a little. Soda bread dough should only just come together. It should not be kneaded. 
  5. Place the dough on a floured piece of baking paper.
  6. Using a sharp knife (serrated works a charm), score the top of the loaf with a cross about 1/3 of the loaf deep. 
  7. If you have any remnants of the buttermilk in the jug, brush it on top of the loaf. Scatter the top of the bread with rolled oats.
  8. Lift the soda bread (by the paper) into a small, oiled Dutch oven and pop into the preheated oven. Bake for 35 minutes or until golden and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the base.
  9. Leave to cool on a wire rack or wrapped in a cloth tea towel. 

Notes

Make sure that you score the top of your loaf. Why do we cut a cross in the top of soda bread? Not only will it help the loaf cook evenly it also lets the fairies out! Very important! 

To Store… Soda Bread is best eaten on the day that it is baked. However, the next day (and day after) I toast the bread for the BEST breakfast toast around. A loaf rarely lasts longer than a day or two in our house. But on the rare chance that it does, store in an airtight container at room temperature. You can also slice it, wrap individual slices in cling wrap, and freeze until needed. 

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/8 loaf
  • Calories: 243
  • Sugar: 4.6 g
  • Sodium: 788.9 mg
  • Fat: 2.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 47.5 g
  • Protein: 7.3 g
  • Cholesterol: 5.1 mg

Similar Posts

2 Comments

  1. I made this last night and it was absolutely delicious served up to me this morning for Valentine’s breakfast in bed with salty butter. Not quite as delicious as the dog found it, when he pulled it off the bench later this morning and had chewed half of the top off before I caught him.
    Now the chooks are enjoying it 😭

    1. Oh no! Well maybe we can look on the bright side, you did at least get one slice! I hope your dog and chooks enjoyed it 😉 Ps, so happy you liked the recipe x

Leave a Reply

Please be respectful. This is a place for positivity, inspiration, constructive criticism & healthy debate. Comments that are deemed inappropriate, offensive, unrelated to this story, or spam will be deleted.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star