Would you be interested if I told you that you could have a fresh, hot, homemade loaf of bread on your table in as little as 30 minutes? I bet you would, and we’re here to give you that bread. If you’re looking for a bread recipe that’s quick, easy and just about fool-proof, then this is the recipe for you. Ladies and gentlemen, we give you the traditional Irish Soda Bread, one of the simplest recipes we will ever share with you, but by far one of the best.
Irish soda bread is a quick bread. Instead of yeast, the bread uses baking soda as a leavening agent, which means that mixing it up is no-fuss and all the rising takes place in the oven. This process yields a hearty loaf with a fine crumb that is perfect for sopping up the juices from a roast or stew. (It also makes wonderful toast, French toast and is great for a hot sandwich once toasted.)
It’s the perfect addition to your recipe arsenal. You get to look like you’ve slaved at bread making all afternoon, but the bread will probably cook faster than the rest of your meal.
A bit of history:
- Soda bread wasn’t actually invented in Ireland, but since its introduction to Ireland in the late 1700’s or early 1800’s, the Irish have made this bread their own. The bread is nothing more than flour, buttermilk, baking soda and salt. (Buttermilk being the leftover liquid created when churning butter, and soda bread is most often served with the very same fresh butter).
- This bread is so beloved that there are many variations, including boxty bread, and brown soda bread with molasses. Some variations add currants, raisins or sultanas (golden raisins). We prefer the traditional plain version for meals though.
- The cross cut into the top of the bread both to help it rise and, according to Irish folklore, either to ward off evil or to let the Faeries out.
As a final note, this bread is a large part of our family’s heritage. We are both descendants of the early irish-Americans and “Sody-bread” is a tradition on both sides of our family. We’re happy to share that tradition with you and we’re sure that your family will enjoy it.
Is soda bread a tradition in your family? If so, let us know in the comments!
- 3 2/3 cups all-purpose flour (plus a bit extra for dusting surfaces)
- 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 3/4 cups buttermilk
- Oil, nonstick cooking spray or parchment paper, for oiling or lining pan
- Heat oven to 425 degrees (220 C, Gas 7). Oil a baking sheet or cover with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Mix flour, salt and baking soda together in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in the buttermilk. Mix together using your hands or the paddle attachment on a stand mixer until a soft dough forms. The dough should be fairly wet (like a biscuit dough), but not sticky.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead 3-4 times. Shape the dough into an 8-inch flat circle. (Flat is important!) Place the loaf on the prepared baking sheet and cut a cross from edge to edge about 1/4-inch deep into the top using a very sharp knife dusted in flour.
- Bake in heated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden or when the bread sounds hollow when tapped. Transfer to a wire rack and cool slightly.
- Serve Warm with plenty of butter, or as a side to mop up juices with.
- Share and Enjoy!
What I would have done differently had I thought of it at the time:
Not a thing. this is a family tradition.
Links to other recipes like this:
- Irish Soda Bread Scones, from Smitten Kitchen
- Irish Cheddar and Bacon Soda Bread, A Texan twist on a classic from Lisa Fain, the Homesick Texan
- Irish Soda Bread (with raisins), from Elise at Simply Recipes