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irish soda bread

Soda bread is among the simplest of breads to make. It’s especially delectable when split horizontally, toasted and stuffed with chewy thick cut bacon.

Soda bread is a variety of quick bread made in a variety of cuisines where baking soda is used as a leavening agent instead of the traditional yeast.

The best Irish soda bread, like this recipe, has a golden brown crust with a dense, tight crumb.

The bread isn’t heavy, it’s actually quite tender and soft inside. The crust is nice and crisp when it comes out of the oven and becomes a little chewy on day 2 and 3.

It’s so good!

How to make Irish Soda Bread

Difficulty:

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What you are creating:

Makes approximately 2 loaves.

A delicious quick bread that goes well topped with softened butter, honey or sandwiched with thick slices of bacon. Serve it with a cup of hot tea!

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups (420ml) buttermilk

  • 1 large egg

  • 4 1/4 cups (515g) all-purpose flour (plus more for your hands and counter)

  • 3 tablespoons (38g) granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 6 tablespoons (84g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed

  • Optional: 1 cup (150g) raisins

Regular Soda Bread.jpeg

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Directions:

  1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees. NOTE:  You can use a 9-10 inch greased cake pan or greased cast iron skillet, greased pie dish, or a baking sheet. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Whisk the buttermilk and egg together. Set aside.

  3. Whisk the flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl.

  4. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter, a fork, or your fingers. Work the dough into coarse crumbs, then stir in the raisins.

  5. Pour in the buttermilk/egg mixture. Gently fold the dough together until dough is too stiff to stir.

  6. With floured hands on a lightly floured surface, work the dough into an (approximately) 8 or 9 inch round loaf as best you can.

  7. Knead the dough for about 30 seconds or until all the flour is moistened. If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour.

  8. Transfer the dough to the prepared skillet/pan. Using a very sharp knife, score an X into the top.

  9. Bake until the bread is golden brown and center appears cooked through, about 45 minutes. Loosely cover the bread with aluminum foil if you notice heavy browning on top. I usually place foil on top halfway through bake time.

  10. Remove from the oven and allow bread to cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm, at room temperature, or toasted with desired toppings/spreads

  11.  Cover and store bread at room temperature for 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Tips:

  1. Freezing Instructions: Baked and cooled bread freezes well for up to 3 months. Freeze the whole loaf or individual slices. Thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature, then reheat as desired.

  2.  Buttermilk: Buttermilk is key to the bread’s flavor, texture, and rise. If you don’t have any buttermilk on hand, you can make a homemade “DIY” version: Add 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or white vinegar to a liquid measuring cup. Add enough milk to make 1 and 3/4 cup. Whisk together, then let sit for 5 minutes before using in the recipe.

  3. The colder the butter, the less sticky the dough will be. Make sure it’s very cold, even frozen cubed butter works great!

  4. I have most success when I bake this bread at 400 degrees. I used to bake it in a hotter oven, but found that the bottom would easily burn if you don’t watch it carefully. 400°F is perfect.