Irish soda bread is so quick and easy. It’s perfect whenever you want a loaf of homemade bread for brunch or dinner.
I first learned to make soda bread while living in Ireland, where bread usually comes in two forms: a soft white “batch” bread and a hearty brown soda bread. Soda bread is so ubiquitous that baking soda is actually called bread soda in the supermarket!
Traditional Irish soda bread is delicious served with butter next to a bowl of soup or Irish stew. Best of all, the leftovers are delicious toasted for breakfast.
Five Flavor Options
I went through a period of making soda bread nearly once a week. It was my go-to solution whenever we were having soup or stew for dinner. So spent quite a bit of time playing with different flavor options.
Here are five flavors that are really delicious.
1. Brown bread:
Traditional Irish soda bread, the sort that is served in most pubs and restaurants, is earthy, warm, and wholesome.
- To make brown bread use 100% wholewheat flour and add in 1/4 cup of cracked wheat.
2. Seedy loaf:
Seedy soda bread is my favorite. I love the crunch of toasted seeds. It’s perfect next to a bowl of cream of vegetable soup.
- To make a seedy loaf, make the bread with either whole wheat or white flour.
- Add 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds, 2 tbsp flax seeds, and 2 tbsp poppy seeds into the batter.
- Before baking, top the loaf with a sprinkling of sesame, flax, and poppy seeds.
3. Lemon pepper loaf:
Lemon pepper loaf is a unique dinner loaf. The flavor combination works amazingly well with soda bread.
- To make lemon pepper loaf add 3/4 cup of grated cheddar cheese, 1 Tbsp of chopped chives, 2 tsp of freshly ground black pepper, and 1 tsp of lemon zest to the batter.
- Top the loaf with cheese prior to baking.
4. Rosemary cheese loaf:
Rosemary cheese loaf is an excellent dinner bread. It can also be toasted for garlic bread.
- To make rosemary cheese loaf, dice a small onion and saute until softened.
- Add the softened onion to the batter along with 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, and 2 Tbsp finely diced fresh rosemary.
- Top the loaf with 2 Tbsp of grated Parmesan cheese.
5. Cinnamon Raisin loaf:
Cinnamon raisin soda bread is a sweet breakfast loaf. It is absolutely amazing toasted with butter.
- To make a cinnamon raisin loaf, add 3/4 cup of small raisins or currants, 1/4 cup of sugar, and 1 Tbsp of cinnamon to the batter.
Traditional Irish soda bread
Traditional Irish soda bread is 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 flavor 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 (400 g, see below for alternatives)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- Additional flavors (see section above for suggestions)
- Combine the buttermilk and flour in a large bowl, and leave it to hydrate for 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle the dough with salt and soda then mix well. You don’t want any clumps of baking soda!
- Stir in any additional flavors, then scrape the dough onto a greased baking sheet or cooking stone. Irish soda bread is typically baked in a free-form ball.
- Slice a cross into the top of the loaf about 3/4-inch deep. If you want to add a topping, brush the top of the loaf with beaten egg, milk, or water then sprinkle on the topping.
- Bake at 400F for 30-40 min (until a toothpick comes out clean).
- Though buttermilk is traditional, feel free to use other types of soured dairy milk. Milk kefir and plain yogurt (no thickeners) both work equally well. Avoid Greek yogurt (strained yogurt) or yogurt that contains thickeners. You need liquid for this recipe.
- You can use any type of flour you like, from rye to all-purpose white. I typically use traditional whole wheat flour.
- For a delicious gluten-free loaf, here is my recipe for gluten-free soda bread.
Keywords: rosemary cheese, lemon pepper, super seedy, cinnamon raisin, soaked, prefermented, brown bread, Saint Patrick’s Day,