Irish Soda Bread Recipe
Irish Soda Bread is the easiest bread you’ll make – no proofing or kneading required and the dough comes together in 5 minutes. Soda bread has a soft and tender crumb with a Biscuit-like texture.
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You’ll Love this Soda Bread!
I fell in love with Soda Bread the first time I tried it. Its lightly sweet crumb reminded me of our Paska Easter Bread and Hot Cross Buns, but it’s amazing how fast and easy it was to make a traditional Soda Bread.
What is Irish Soda Bread?
This Irish-American Soda Bread is traditionally baked for St. Patrick’s Day. It is a quick bread that uses Baking Soda (a.k.a. Sodium Bicarbonate) as the leavening to make it rise. Unlike traditional yeast bread, there is no proofing or rising time. Once the dough comes together, you score the top and bake right away.
We love adding raisins for the holidays, but the raisins are optional. If you want to make it without buttermilk, then kefir works just as well to activate the baking soda.
- Flour – all-purpose flour works best
- Sugar – 1/4 cup makes it a lightly sweet bread
- Salt – every good bread needs a fair amount
- Baking soda – leavening which makes the bread rise
- Butter – gives the bread a scone-like texture (use cold, unsalted)
- Buttermilk – activates the soda (use cold, low-fat)
- Egg – for a finer, richer crumb
- Raisins – optional and can be substituted for dried cranberries
Tips for the Best Soda Bread
- Do not over-mix – as with scones, the dough really just has to come together before baking.
- Sticky dough – the dough will feel sticky. Dust your work surface and hands with just enough flour to handle the dough.
- Cold ingredients – there’s no reason to bring ingredients to room temperature. Keep buttermilk, egg, and butter chilled.
- Generously grease the pan – buttering your cast-iron skillet before baking allows the bread to rise without sticking to the pan.
- Cool on a rack – Once out of the oven, transfer the soda bread to a rack to cool so it doesn’t steam and soften on the bottom.
How to Make Soda Bread
You’ll be amazed how fast and easy it is to form a loaf of this Irish-American Soda Bread.
- Prep – Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 10″ cast-iron pan with butter.
- Whisk dry ingredients – in a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda.
- Add butter and raisins – cut butter into dice then work it into the flour mixture with clean dry fingertips until crumbs form. Stir in raisins.
- Buttermilk – In a large measuring cup, beat together buttermilk and 1 egg and pour into dry ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon until moistened and the dough starts to come together.
- Form the loaf – transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface, dust hands with flour, and form dough into a round loaf. If too sticky to handle, dust with flour.
- Bake – transfer dough to the buttered pan and score the top with a deep “X”. Bake at 375˚F for 50-55 minutes.
How to know when Soda Bread is done baking? We bake for 50-55 minutes. When you tap the loaf it should sound hollow inside.
You can omit the raisins, or even substitute them for dried cranberries or other bits of dried fruit like chopped apricots.
The buttermilk activates the baking soda, making the bread rise. You can substitute the buttermilk with a low fat plain Kefir.
We love to serve soda bread is delicious served as a side with Irish butter and honey, or jam. It’s a lightly sweet bread so it pairs well with coffee or tea.
Scoring the top gives it extra surface area to brown and crisp.
Over-mixing or over-kneading the dough can make it tough. The less you handle it, the softer the bread will be.
Soda bread freezes really well. If you freeze it the day it’s baked (be sure it’s cooled to room temperature first), it will taste great thawed and toasted.
This Irish Soda Bread recipe is sure to become a holiday favorite for you. It’s so easy and you’ll impress everyone.
More St Patrick’s Day Recipes
If you love this Soda Bread, then you won’t want to miss these St. Patrick’s Day-inspired recipes.
- Green Smoothie Bowl – perfect for a St. Patty’s breakfast
- Zeppole – a special treat loved by all
- Spinach Artichoke Dip – your new favorite dip
- Guacamole Stuffed Deviled Eggs – you’ll love the green
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts – crispy with bacon
- Broccoli Apple Salad – with creamy dressing
Irish Soda Bread Recipe
- Preheat oven at 375˚F. Generously grease a 10” cast-iron skillet with 1/2 Tbsp butter.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda. Cut butter into small pieces and use your fingers to work the butter into the flour until crumbs form stir in the raisins, breaking up any clumps of raisins. Make a well in the center.
- In a large measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk and egg then add this mixture into the flour mixture. Use a wooden spoon and mix just until lightly moistened and dough barely starts to come together.
- Transfer to a floured surface and use floured hands to shape the dough just until it forms into a round loaf. It should be shaggy. If it’s too sticky to handle, dust lightly with flour. Do not over-mix or bread will be tough.
- Transfer to the buttered pan, use a knife to score the top with a large and deep “X”. Bake in the center of your preheated oven at 375 for 50-55min. When you tap on the bread, it should sound hollow inside. Transfer bread to a wire rack to cool. Enjoy within 2 days of making it and refrigerate leftovers up to a week.