Traditional Irish Soda Bread

"This makes a fairly dense, rustic (ugly, even) loaf of bread that is tasty and not sweet. It is crusty and rough on the outside, chewy inside. Nummy hot with lots of butter! Note: sometimes (depending on humidity etc) it takes a bit more than the 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk--just keep adding a little bit at a time until it all holds together as stated in the recipe."
 
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photo by Jonathan Melendez photo by Jonathan Melendez
photo by Jonathan Melendez
photo by Baby Kato photo by Baby Kato
photo by Jonathan Melendez photo by Jonathan Melendez
photo by Jonathan Melendez photo by Jonathan Melendez
photo by Caitlin C. photo by Caitlin C.
Ready In:
1hr
Ingredients:
4
Yields:
1 loaf
Serves:
8
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ingredients

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directions

  • Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Brush a baking sheet with melted butter or spray with non-stick spray.
  • Combine dry ingredients in a deep bowl. Gradually stir in 1 cup buttermilk, beating constantly, until dough is firm enough to be gathered into a ball. If dough crumbles, add up to 1/2 cup more buttermilk, 1 tbsp at a time, until it holds together.
  • Place on a lightly floured board and pat into an 8-inch flattened round loaf.
  • Place loaf on baking sheet and slash a 1/2-inch deep "X" into the top of the dough with a small, sharp knife.
  • Bake at 425 degrees F for about 45 minutes, or until the top is golden.
  • Serve hot.

Questions & Replies

default avatar
  1. karen j.
    Traditional Irish soda bread only has 4 (FOUR) ingredients. Anything more, it's now something else
     
  2. Marianne V.
    Has anyone tried brushing melted butter on top before baking?
     
  3. Cathy R.
    Hi. Can I subsitute gluten free flour? Cashew milk? Has anyone tried? Read somewhere else to cook for an hour at 325. Thoughts on this, compared to 425 for 45 minutes? Thanks
     
  4. Katharine L.
    Can I mix the bread dough (Irish SodaBread) tonight and bake it tomorrow morning?
     
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Reviews

  1. Karen in Gotham
    This is wonderful bread, HOWEVER (and it's a big "however"), you'll get much more authentic and palatable results if you substitute pastry flour for all-purpose; Ireland grows soft wheat--a better fit for leavening with soda and acid (and it's my understanding that sour milk is more traditional than buttermilk). You can also use 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour to 1 cup white pastry flour with maybe an extra half-teaspoon of soda and a bit more salt--delicious!<br/>Stingo mentioned that the dough should be handled as little as possible, which turns out to have been sound advice. 10 seconds of very gentle kneading with floured fingers prior to shaping the loaf and cutting the cross is plenty and ensures that you'll get as much rise as possible. I followed the baking instructions to a T and got great results. I've read wrapping the bread in a tea towel when it comes out of the oven will result in a softer crust.
     
  2. stingo
    I've made this recipe a few times long ago, and while the results were decent enough, they weren't inspiring enough to merit a stellar review. I attribute this to my fault as a newbie baker, because I have since had the help of a more experienced baker, and the results are very, very good. The key for me was to work the bread very gently - just fold the combined wet and dry mixture until it was just ready to form a ball of dough. I turned the bowl contents out onto a floured countertop and lightly patted them into a loaf, and put it onto a parchment covered baking sheet. What a difference in the texture - I can see what the fuss is about now. I will definitely be making this again (and again). Thanks so much for sharing the truly traditional Irish soda bread.
     
  3. Jonathan Melendez
    This is as traditional as it gets! It's my favorite quick bread and made better with softened Irish butter.
     
  4. az935454
    Wonderful, authentic recipe. Being Irish myself and having been to Ireland twice, I can tell you this is a true Irish soda bread. Just 4 ingredients, mix the dough just until it comes together, shape and bake (or pan fry) it. The only thing I personally found a bit off was the temperature. After 15 minutes my bread was already getting brown, so I dropped it to 375 for the remainder of the 45 minutes. We had it with our corned beef and cabbage last night and it was so good! Someone also brought a store-bought, soft "Irish soda bread" with raisins and caraway seeds, but no one touched it! Really, save yourself time and money and just make this easy, delicious, genuine bread. You won't be sorry. Thanks so much Halcyone Eve!
     
  5. YourCakeIWillTake
    Yummy! So easy and simple! I followed other reviewers' advice and mixed/kneaded as little as possible and that definitely kept ithe texture perfect. Mine baked for just under 40 minutes and it came out crunchy on the outside, beautifully fluffy and chewy on the inside. Made for St. Patty's day dinner, and I will make it again!
     
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Tweaks

  1. sutro1
    This is the recipe from my grandmother ... an Irish woman from County Cork Ireland. 4 cups flour / 1 tsp baking soda / 1/2 tsp baking soda / thimble full of caraway seeds (1 tbsp) / 1 cup raisins/ 2 cups buttermilk (or milk with lemon juice or vinegar). Mix all dry ingredients, add buttermilk/ mix until it is blended/ place on floured cutting board and kneed and roll into a flat round loaf. Cut a cross into the top of the loaf and place in a cast iron skillet. Bake at 325 for 1 hour.
     
  2. Jonathan Melendez
    I love soda bread with currants and so I added 1/2 cup dried currents to the flour before adding the milk. It's so good!
     
  3. Marie W.
    Hi Everyone - Baked this recipe tonight first time. It was so delicious I could not stop eating it. Who ever recommended parchment paper well that does not work at an oven temperature over 400 degrees. So sprayed the pan instead. It took at least 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk. Anything less than that would not work. I baked on the second rack from the bottom of the oven for quick breads. I used King Arthur Unbleached all purpose flour. This bread was restaurant quality. It will be a regular in our house for fish frys and more. It didn't take that long to bake either. I set it for 40 but took it out at 30 because the top was golden already and after testing with a toothpick which came out clean. Cooled a little on a rack and served hot. Easy and delicious.
     
  4. Nado2003
    Fast, easy and good. In the time it took me to preheat the oven, I was able to complete the preparation of the dough. I hardly knead. Just enough to get the whole thing wet and into a ball. I used waxed paper instead of oil or butter on the cooking sheet. Baked for 40 minutes, until the toothpick came out clean. Then upon removal from the oven, I wrapped it up in the wax paper it sat on in the oven and a tea towel, then leaned at an angle on the counter against the wall to cool, so that the crust is not too hard or too soft. Served with corned beef and cabbage/potatoes for dinner. Will make toast in the morning with butter and jam.
     
  5. Karen in Gotham
    This is wonderful bread, HOWEVER (and it's a big "however"), you'll get much more authentic and palatable results if you substitute pastry flour for all-purpose; Ireland grows soft wheat--a better fit for leavening with soda and acid (and it's my understanding that sour milk is more traditional than buttermilk). You can also use 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour to 1 cup white pastry flour with maybe an extra half-teaspoon of soda and a bit more salt--delicious!<br/>Stingo mentioned that the dough should be handled as little as possible, which turns out to have been sound advice. 10 seconds of very gentle kneading with floured fingers prior to shaping the loaf and cutting the cross is plenty and ensures that you'll get as much rise as possible. I followed the baking instructions to a T and got great results. I've read wrapping the bread in a tea towel when it comes out of the oven will result in a softer crust.
     

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