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Irish Soda Bread – An Easy Bread Recipe With No Kneading Required!

With St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, we thought it was the perfect time to share one of our most popular recipes, Irish Soda Bread.

When you think of traditional soda bread, you may think of a round loaf of bread with raisins scattered throughout the middle.  

Irish Soda Bread
Irish Soda bread is a super easy, no knead bread recipe that is perfect for any day of the year!

Although this type of bread is very popular in the United States, this is not true Irish Soda Bread. Just like Corned Beef and Cabbage, the soda bread made with egg, butter and raisins. stems from an American take on Ireland inspired recipes.

In fact, traditional Irish soda bread originated out of necessity. And it only contains 5 simple ingredients that was easy to obtain back in the 1700’s in Ireland.

And you might be surprised that yeast is not one of the ingredients! Because of the climate in Ireland, it is difficult to make yeast-leavened bread.

irish soda bread dry ingredients
The dry ingredients in this Irish Soda bread does not include yeast.

Therefore, they use baking soda to make their every-day table bread.  

Because there is no yeast to activate, and this is a no kneading required, the bread takes only 5 minutes to prepare!

And with less than an hour to complete, from start to finish, it is no wonder why it is the ‘go to’ bread in Ireland.  

How to Make Irish Soda Bread

So how do you make Traditional Irish Soda Bread?

mix with your hands
Mix the buttermilk with the dry ingredients by hand.

First sift your dry ingredients in a large bowl. Then make a well in the center and slowly pour in 1 1/2 – 1 3/4 cups of the buttermilk. Be sure not to use all of the buttermilk, as you may need a little more later.

Now, using your fingers, bring the outer edges of the flour in towards the buttermilk. Keep working the two together, until a soft dough ball begins to form.

If the mixture is too dry, then add the remaining buttermilk. You want the dough ball to be soft, but not too wet and sticky.

irish soda bread dough
Once the buttermilk has been absorbed and the dough becomes together, move to a floured surface and continue to form the dough into a circle.

Form your dough

Then bring the Irish Soda Bread dough out of the bowl. Continue to mix it together until it is able to be formed into a consistent ball. *Do not knead the dough. Simply bring the mixture together to form a ball.

Next, pat the dough down until it reaches a circle that is 2 1/2 inches thick. Place it on a baking sheet and using a serrated knife, cut a cross in the top of the dough.

cut the top of bread
Make two perpendicular slices in the top of the dough before putting it in the oven.

Bake in a preheated oven at 450 degrees F for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 400 and continue to bake until done, approximately 30 more minutes.

Let the bread cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring it to a cooling rack.

Then when you are ready, slice and serve along with Beef Stew or with your favorite jam or jelly!

loaf of irish soda bread
A baked loaf of Irish Soda Bread ready to be enjoyed!


Mary and Jim

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Irish Soda Bread Recipe

  • 3½ cups all-purpose flour (plus extra for dusting)
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1½-2 cups buttermilk
  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F
  2. Sift the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl.
  3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in most of the buttermilk, leaving about ¼ cup to use as needed. Using your fingers, bring the flour and liquid together, adding more buttermilk, if necessary. ***Don’t knead the mixture, or it will become heavy. The dough should be soft, but not too wet or sticky.
  4. When the dough begins to stick together and form a ball, remove it from the bowl and place it onto a floured work surface. Continue to bring it together a little more until it is able to be formed into a ball. Pat the dough down into a circle, about 2½ inches thick and cut a deep cross in it. Place on a baking sheet.

  5. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn down the heat to 400° for an additional 30 minutes. When done, the loaf will sound slightly hollow when tapped on the bottom and be golden in color.
  6. Allow to cool on a wire rack until you are ready to eat.

***Hint Buttermilk replacement suggestion — To make your own buttermilk, add 1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice to the milk. Let sit for 10 minutes. Then stir and mix into the recipe as instructed.  

Recipe Courtesy of Old World Garden Farms