Updated on February 25, 2019
Irish soda bread recipe is an easy homemade bread. This is a traditional Irish food, as for centuries families used to have whole wheat bread on the table. Do you want to know how to make bread? You will love to make this no yeast bread for St Patrick’s day or every day!
To my mind, this soda bread is great to serve with Irish food like Colcannon. This is one of bread recipes that should be in every family cookbook. Actually no bought product can substitute the smell of homemade bread! Moreover, it is such a quick and simple bread recipe that you need to try!
So if you are planning your St Patrick’s day food, this Irish soda bread recipe is perfect to serve aside or smear some green butter on top. Moreover, this bread can be served for breakfast with coffee or healthy Green smoothie.
Ingredients in Irish soda bread recipe
The main ingredients you need to activate the dough are buttermilk and soda. You can also use kefir, but traditionally Irish brown bread is made with buttermilk. To my mind, buttermilk adds extra richness to the taste of bread.
Actually you can make buttermilk at home. Combine 1 cup of milk with a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice. Let it stand for 5 minutes and that’s it, you will have homemade buttermilk.
What’s more, you can incorporate a half cup of any dried fruits in the dough. You can use raisins, dried cranberries, or even pumpkin or caraway seeds!
By the way, be careful, when you add soda. Just level the teaspoon, because too much soda can ruin the taste and even color of the homemade bread.
The shape and decoration of Irish homemade bread
So traditionally, Irish soda bread recipe is made round shape and cooked in the oven on the baking tray with parchment paper. Ok, our grand grand ma’s didn’t have parchment paper, so they used old non stick trays. But I recommend to have some paper under the soda bread. Anyway, you can use a bread pan, too.
Moreover, Irish soda bread have a cross on the top. So the reason for that is that people believed it will let out devils and fairies. However, even if you don’t think it’s true, the cross will help slightly open the thickest part of the bread, allowing to cook it evenly through. Moreover, I decorated the cross with some dried cranberries, to make it more appealing, but it’s optional.
Also, to have a beautiful bread, don’t open the oven door before the end of cooking. Keep calm, drink coffee or tea (or wine, whatever, haha), your bread won’t burn. Of course, if you don’t forget about it…
Whole wheat bread
The reason we have such a beautiful brown color of the soda bread is that whole wheat flour is used, combined with white flour. To make whole wheat or wholemeal flour, usually the whole grain is used and nothing lost during the grinding process. That is the reason of more textured, brownish flour. Moreover, whole wheat flour has more vitamins, minerals and protein. However this flour has a shorter life, so better store it in the fridge in in other cool place.
Yes, you can make the bread with whole wheat flour only. But mixing with half of of all-purpose flour delivers lighter texture and better rising.
How is Irish Soda Bread made?
Simply combine all the dry ingredients – whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, salt and baking soda. Incorporate soft butter, mixing with your fingers. Make a well in the center, pour buttermilk with eggs and combine until the dough forms. Gently knead the dough and make the bread round shape.
Cut the cross on the bread, add cranberries and brush with leftover buttermilk-egg mixture. Bake in the preheated oven for up to 50 minutes until nice color and wooden skewer comes out clean.
Check also our other bread recipes like Apple Cinnamon bread, Cauliflower flatbread, Pumpkin chocolate chip bread and Carrot cake recipe (Easter bread).
Irish soda bread is great to serve with Irish recipes like Colcannon and Irish Beef Stew.
Irish soda bread recipe – How To Make Bread
- bowls and a whisk
- baking sheet, layered with parchment paper
- wooden skewer
- 260 g whole wheat flour
- 260 g all-purpose flour + extra for dusting
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 30 g butter
- 1 egg
- 400 ml buttermilk
- 1 tbsp cranberries, dried (optional)
- Preheat oven to 390 F / 200 C.
- Whisk buttermilk and egg until just combined. Set a ½ tbsp aside.400 ml buttermilk, 1 egg
- In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients.260 g whole wheat flour, 260 g all-purpose flour, ½ tsp salt, 1 tsp baking soda
- Incorporate butter with your hands into dry ingredients.30 g butter
- Make a well in the center of flour mixture. Pour in buttermilk and egg mixture. Work the dough until just combined.
- Transfer the dough to the clean floured surface (use white flour for dusting). Dust the hands with white flour and knead slightly (don't overdo this!). The dough should be a little sticky. But if it is too sticky, add a little more flour.
- Make round shape of kneaded dough. Transfer to the baking sheet, layered with parchment paper.
- Cut the cross on top of the dough. Insert dried cranberries in the cross. Brush the bread with leftover buttermilk-egg mixture.1 tbsp cranberries, dried
- Bake 40-50 minutes until bread browned and inserted wooden skewer comes out clean. Let it cool before serving.
Can u use measurement in cups & regular American amounts..
Hi Carmela, yes, you can click on the recipe card near “ingredients” on “US Customary” and you will see American measurements.
Can this recipe be made with gluten free flour?
I haven’t tried to make this Irish soda bread recipe with gluten-free flour.
You can experiment and substitute wheat flour with gluten-free flour that contains binder 1:1, but honestly I’m not 100% sure this will work.
Let me know, if you decide to experiment and how it turns out!
Never tried Soda Bread any time and your Bread looks so perfect. I am definitely going to try this one out.
This is such an easy recipe, you should try it, Veena!
My parents are Irish so I’ve had soda bread many many times and yours looks great. I never thought to ask about the reason for the cross on the top, but that’s hilarious that it’s to let out the devils and fairies. I love all the obscure Irish folklore.
Thank you, an approval from true Irish means a lot!
Definitely going to be giving this a go for St Patrick’s Day celebrations. It looks SO good.
Thank you, Bintu! Irish soda bread is great for serving with hearty stews and soups.
Oh boy, I haven’t made soda bread in way too long! Thanks for the recipe, trying it this weekend!
Let us know how it goes! Homemade bread is much better than a store-bought.
I love the addition of cranberries here!I’ve been wanting to make irish soda bread for years, yet I always thought it was somehow too complicated, really glad I found this easy recipe, can’t wait to make it! Can I also check, is it possible to make it only with whole wheat flour?
Oh, it is so easy, no yeast needed, so no time to wait for it to rise. And it is impossible to mess up! Yes, you can use only whole wheat flour. Traditionally it is made with 2 flours. 100 % whole wheat flour will give it a darker color. Also check the time of baking, it may be slightly different. Let me know how it goes!