I first learned about soda bread while living in Ireland, where bread only usually comes in two forms: a soft white “batch” bread and a hearty brown soda bread. Traditional Irish soda bread is so ubiquitous there that baking soda is actually called bread soda in the grocery stores.
Traditional Irish soda bread is such a quick and easy bread that it’s perfect whenever you want a loaf of homemade bread for dinner. It is delicious served with butter next to a bowl of soup or Irish stew. Best of all, the leftovers are delicious toasted for breakfast.
Different Flavour Options
I like adding flavours to my loaves of soda bread. While the traditional brown bread is warm, earthy and wholesome, all of these flavours are delicious.Toasted cinnamon raisin soda bread is absolutely amazing. And the rosemary cheese loaf is perfect with soup. However, the seedy loaf is my favourite. I love the crunch of toasted seeds.
- Brown bread: For a traditional Irish soda bread make the loaf with wholewheat flour and add in 1/4 cup of cracked wheat.
- A seedy loaf: This is my favourite variety as I love the crunch of toasted seeds. Add in half cup of mixed flax, poppy and sunflower seeds in the batter, then top the loaf with a sprinkling of sesame, flax and poppy seeds.
- Lemon pepper loaf: For a unique and interesting dinner loaf, add in 1 tsp of lemon zest, 2 tsp of freshly ground black pepper, 1 tbsp of chopped chives and 3/4 cup of grated cheddar cheese. Top the loaf with cheese.
- Rosemary cheese loaf: This makes excellent garlic bread. Dice an onion and saute until softened. Add to the batter with 2 tbsp finely diced rosemary and 3/4 cup of Parmesan cheese. Top the loaf with some more Parmesan cheese.
- Cinnamon Raisin loaf: For a sweet breakfast loaf, add in 1/4 cup of sugar, 3/4 cup of raisins or currents and 1 tbsp of cinnamon.
Traditional Irish soda bread
Traditional Irish soda bread is a deliciously quick and easy to make. It is perfect next to a bowl of stew or toasted for breakfast. See the section above for 5 flavour options.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 1 loaf 1x
- Category: Bread
- Cuisine: Irish
- Diet: Vegetarian
- 3 cups of flour (400g)
- 1 2/3 cups buttermilk or milk kefir (400 g)
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- Additional Flavours (see section above for suggestions)
- Combine buttermilk and flour in a glass container, and leave to hydrate for 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle the dough with the salt and soda then mix well into the batter.
- Stir in any additional flavours, then place on your baking pan. Slice a cross into the top of the loaf about 2 cm deep.
- If you want to add a topping, brush the top of the loaf with beaten egg, milk or water then sprinkle on seeds or cheese.
- Bake at 400F (200C) for 30-40 min (until a toothpick comes out clean).
- Though buttermilk is traditional, feel free to use any soured milk like milk kefir, sour cream or yogurt. Avoid Greek yogurt (strained yogurt) or sour cream that has thickeners. You need liquid for this recipe.
- You can use any type of flour you like, from rye to straight white. I typically use traditional whole wheat flour. For a delicious gluten-free loaf, here is my recipe for gluten-free soda bread.
- Traditional Irish soda bread is baked in a free-form ball on a cooking stone. However, you could also use a loaf pan for a sandwich-style loaf of bread.
Keywords: rosemary cheese, lemon pepper, super seedy, cinnamon raisin, soaked, prefermented, brown bread, Saint Patrick’s Day,