Classic Irish Soda Bread

The easiest and quickest bread you’ll ever make! This classic Irish soda bread is ready to go into the oven within minutes as no yeast or proving is required!

So after I had such a surprisingly great response to my Simple White Cob Loaf recipe, I’ve decided to share another bread recipe with you in the form of this classic Irish soda bread. Plus, this is even easier to make than my cob loaf!

Like seriously. This is my lazy go-to bread when I want something to go with a casserole or soup but don’t have time to make a yeasted bread. Plus, it’s delicious, especially when smothered in butter while it’s still warm from the oven.

What makes it a quick, easy bread?

It contains no yeast! No yeast means no kneading or proving required. This impressive loaf bursts into life in the oven thanks to the two star ingredients – buttermilk and bicarbonate of soda.

The reaction between the acid and alkali causes the dough to rise and transform into this beautiful loaf!

What’s the texture like?

This chemical reaction creates a slightly different textured bread. It’s slightly denser than my Cob Loaf yet somehow still really light, and so moreish. Plus, let’s talk about that crust. The crust is super thick and crunchy, contrasting perfectly with the soft bread within.

How do you create that classic soda bread shape?

As you can see this loaf has four distinct sections which are traditional for an Irish soda bread loaf. They are created by cutting really deeply through the dough once on the baking tray. Cut almost all the way through, and the dough will join together again as it rises in the oven, creating the four sections!

Can I just use normal milk instead of buttermilk?

Unfortunately not. The acidity of buttermilk is required to react with the bicarbonate of soda to act as the leavening agent for this loaf!

Do I need to use strong/bread flour?

No, there is no need. We don’t need a higher protein content in our flour as we aren’t kneading or proving the dough. Therefore good old plain white flour will be just fine here.

Some soda bread recipes use wholemeal flour, or a combination of white and wholemeal. I haven’t personally tried this as I love a classic white loaf.

I hope I’ve convinced you to give my Irish soda bread a try! With it’s thick, crunchy crust and soft, delicious interior, you’ll be wondering why you haven’t made it sooner.

I promise it will become a regular bake of yours as it’s just. so. easy to make!

close up of wedge of Irish soda bread

Classic Irish Soda Bread

The easiest and quickest bread you’ll ever make! This classic Irish soda bread is ready to go into the oven within minutes as no yeast or proving is required!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Side Dish
Keyword: bread recipe, easy bread, irish soda bread, quick bread
Servings: 8 slices

Ingredients

  • 490 g plain white flour
  • 1 level tsp salt
  • 1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 460 ml buttermilk

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 200°/180° fan.
  • To a large bowl add the plain flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda. Whisk to combine.
  • Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients as shown. 
  • Pour the buttermilk into the well and stir with a wooden spoon at first. As it gets more difficult to stir with the spoon use your hand instead to mix and press the dough together until a rough ball of dough is formed. The dough will be quite sticky. If too sticky to form a ball, add a tablespoon of flour at a time until it looks as shown. 
  • Place the ball of dough onto your baking tray (either a silicon tray or one lined with baking paper/parchment).
  • Using a large sharp knife, cut down the centre horizontally and vertically to create four sections. Cut almost to the very bottom as shown. Don’t worry, the sections will join together again as the loaf rises in the oven.
  • Dust the top of the loaf with some plain flour and then place in the preheated oven on the middle shelf for 30 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and check that it is baked by carefully flipping over and tapping the base – it should sound hollow.
  • Place on a wire cooling rack. Soda bread is best eaten on the same day. I usually freeze any leftover wedges, double wrapping them in cling film. Then I take a wedge out an hour or so before needing it, and usually place in a warm oven so it tastes fresh again!
    uncut Irish soda bread loaf

If you try one of my recipes please use #bakerjoblog or tag me @BakerJoBlog on Instagram or Twitter as I’d love to see! 

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