Irish soda bread

Irish soda bread

I love soda bread but for some bizarre reasons I had never thought of making some. Until last weekend, that is. God knows why I never tried before  as it’s got to be one of the easiest breads EVER to make. Honest!Unlike other traditional yeast based breads it doesn’t require any proving time. So basically, if you have the right ingredients (which are pretty standard), you can knock one up in no time at all. It’s nice warm from the oven with butter spread on it and perhaps some jam, or maybe as an accompaniment to soups , but I found it’s equally nice the day after toasted. I used white flour for this particular one but next time I want to try wholemeal or spelt flour, or perhaps half and half.


500 gr. plain flour

2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp caster sugar

1 tsp sea salt

400 ml. buttermilk (or live plain yoghurt)

a little milk (if necessary)


1. Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl and stir in the salt and sugar. Make a well in the centre and pour in the buttermilk or yoghurt, stirring as you go. If necessary, add a tablespoon or two of milk to bring the mixture together; it should form a soft, quite sticky dough.

2. Tip it out on to a lightly floured work surface and knead lightly for about a minute, just long enough to pull it together into a loose ball but no longer – you need to get it into the oven while the bicarb is still doing its stuff. You’re not looking for the kind of smooth, elastic dough you’d get with a yeast-based bread.

3. Put the dough on a lightly floured baking sheet and dust generously with flour. Mark a deep cross in it with a sharp, serrated knife, cutting about two-thirds of the way through the loaf. Put it in an oven preheated to 200°C/Gas Mark 6 and bake for 40-45 minutes, until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped underneath.

4. Cool on a wire rack if you like a crunchy crust, or wrap in a clean tea towel if you prefer a soft crust.

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