Traditional White Irish Soda Bread

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Irish Soda Bread1

My friend Jan is a terrific cook and an extremely talented baker. When I tasted some of her Irish soda bread, I decided to gather up my courage and try some of my own. For those of you who don’t know, baking is definitely not my strong suit in the kitchen. So even a simple, classic recipe as this means a culinary challenge for me.

Although I’m not a huge fan of St. Patrick’s Day, America’s excuse for a drinking holiday, I treasure the memories of our two trips to Ireland. Aside from the wonderfully sophisticated cuisine and glorious countryside, the Irish people are among the friendliest folks I have ever encountered.

So, come Sunday we will be enjoying a slice or two of this with our corned beef and sautéed cabbage. Thanks again to the folks at Kerrygold for both the butter and the shamrocks, the only compensation I received for writing this post.

TIP: Don’t forget to gently shake your carton of buttermilk before pouring into a measuring cup, since the solids tend to settle.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Traditional White Irish Soda Bread
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 loaf
An easy recipe for traditional Irish soda bread.
  • ½ teaspoon unsalted butter and 1-2 tablespoons flour for preparing pan
  • 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1¾ cup buttermilk
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Lightly butter and flour a round cake pan.
  3. Using a large bowl, combine the flour, soda, salt and buttermilk. Turn out onto a floured surface and lightly knead, just for a minute or two.
  4. Shape the dough into a round, flat shape, place in prepared pan and cut a cross into the top of the dough.
  5. Cover the pan of dough with another round cake pan.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes covered, then remove top pan and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
  7. Enjoy warm, toasted or at room temperature with some good Irish butter.

Irish soda bread2

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48 Responses to Traditional White Irish Soda Bread

  1. sallybr March 13, 2013 at 3:30 pm #

    Gorgeous loaf, you ended up with a very nice looking crumb for your soda bread. I love baking breads, but in the past made Irish soda bread you could play hockey with, or maybe inflict damage on someone trying to invade your house 🙂

    I shy away from it, but I must say your experience is tempting me to go for it…

    • Liz March 13, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

      Thanks, because I am such a poor baker – I really didn’t expect it to work.

  2. Dianne Jacob March 13, 2013 at 3:51 pm #

    Congratulations. Looks better than the whole wheat soda bread I once attempted. It was leaden!

    I agree about Ireland. Of all the countries I visited last year, Ireland was the most magical.

    • Liz March 13, 2013 at 4:08 pm #

      I had my doubts when I was trying to get the dough to come together. Larry just ate 2 pieces, though.

  3. Lynda - TasteFood March 13, 2013 at 5:31 pm #

    Lovely bread; I love the simplicity of this recipe. I will be making some later this week and usually include raisins, but now maybe not!

    • Liz March 13, 2013 at 6:13 pm #

      I think raisins or currants are used a lot – I just wanted to try the traditional recipe. Mine baked a bit faster than the directions but I have a hot oven.

  4. Cathy @ She Paused 4 Thought March 13, 2013 at 7:27 pm #

    That bread is stunning! I can’t wait to try this.

    • Liz March 13, 2013 at 7:59 pm #

      Thanks so much, Cathy –

  5. Suzanne March 14, 2013 at 5:51 am #

    Gorgeous loaf, Happy St. Paddy’s day!

    • Liz March 14, 2013 at 8:06 am #

      You too!

  6. Wendy Read March 14, 2013 at 6:38 am #

    So proud of you Liz! Your loaf looks beautiful and love the photo where you can see the melted butter…fabulous.

    • Liz March 14, 2013 at 8:06 am #

      Thanks, Wendy –

  7. Jayne March 14, 2013 at 6:39 am #

    Your loaf looks lovely! Ive had some very heavy results with soda bread in the past, I shall bookmark your recipe! I love your shamrock too! My husband is from an Irish family, you have made me think I should make some kind of St Paddy’s day effort!

    • Liz March 14, 2013 at 8:07 am #

      I undercooked this slightly – pretty dense but moist bread.

  8. Beth (OMG! Yummy) March 14, 2013 at 8:40 am #

    You and I have yet another thing in common – unconfident baking skills. Looks like it came out great Liz. What an interesting recipe with the buttermilk. Will have to try it.

    • Liz March 14, 2013 at 9:04 am #

      Baking is just so difficult for me – all the measuring, etc – and the mess!

  9. Elizabeth March 14, 2013 at 9:26 am #

    It looks like you are a baker to me. How beautiful. I am going to make it this weekend. I love Irish soda bread with butter and touch of jam. I bet your tomato jam would be really good with this bread. What I love about this recipe is that you do not have to kneed it.

    Sidenote: I have never been to Ireland and it is on the bucket list. I also want to go to Scotland. I will do it, by golly.

    • Liz March 14, 2013 at 10:23 am #

      It truly made itself –

  10. Averie @ Averie Cooks March 14, 2013 at 10:04 pm #

    Liz the bread is beautiful! I am so impressed! You say you’re not a baker in the comment you left me, but clearly, you are! I have an Irish Soda-ish bread I’m posting next week. Ran out of time for this week but I love using buttermilk in breads. Yours looks so fluffy! Pinning!

    • Liz March 14, 2013 at 10:14 pm #

      Help me out here – but my recipe seemed to work.

  11. The Wimpy Vegetarian March 15, 2013 at 5:12 pm #

    I love the buttermilk in this wonderful looking bread!! I love it!!!!! You made BREAD!!!! And the photo is gorgeous. I’m definitely making this!

    • Liz March 15, 2013 at 5:28 pm #

      I did, indeed, and after I almost threw out the batter, thinking it looked too dry. Who knew 😉

    • Liz March 16, 2013 at 4:01 pm #

      Thanks, Susan – it is so simple to make.

  12. Rachael (Fuji Mama) March 15, 2013 at 6:54 pm #

    I think you look like a baker! I love a good soda bread, and this one looks especially divine! I’ve even got some Kerrygold butter waiting for me in the fridge just dying to be used…sounds like I need to make some of this tomorrow!

    • Liz March 15, 2013 at 7:27 pm #

      Wish you had been here, “Coach”. X0 Liz

    • Liz March 15, 2013 at 9:02 pm #

      Hey, sister, the recipe works – I promise. X0 Liz

  13. Hello Liz,

    What a lovely loaf you designed! I could lick the screen it looks so good-making this for sure!

    • Liz March 18, 2013 at 3:00 pm #

      Mary, it was a shock to me when it came out of the oven – a good shock, that is 😉

  14. Elizabeth April 27, 2013 at 9:13 pm #

    On the last fifteen minutes of my baking time and it looks beautiful! I’ve been on the hunt for a traditional Irish soda bread recipe and I think I just found it

  15. Marie March 15, 2014 at 10:05 pm #

    First off I want to say I’ve never made Soda Bread before…. Am in the process of making this Soda bread. And so far I can say there measurements of the Flour or the Buttermilk are way off… Once all ingredients where combined the consistancy was a wet sticky mess.. I used at least another half cup of flour in the kneading process to get it to a Bread like consistancy… On the upside it looks good it’s still n the oven

    • Liz March 16, 2014 at 9:12 am #

      Marie, I hope you let me know how it comes out. I wasn’t encouraged when I put my bread in the oven but thought the baked loaf was really delicious.

      • Marie March 16, 2014 at 5:58 pm #

        Liz, It actually came out really good.. I was very surprised thumbs up

        • Liz March 16, 2014 at 6:29 pm #

          Ditto – I almost threw mine away before shoving it in the oven!

          • Megan May 19, 2016 at 3:55 am #

            Mine came out in a wet sticky mess too- Writing from UK here so was worried that I’d messed up the measurements! It turned out absolutely gorgeous, and I’m just about to make a second one. So much less time consuming then making normal bread. Fab recipe Liz 🙂

          • Liz May 19, 2016 at 7:28 am #

            Yes, that was exactly my experience too my first try –

  16. Jen March 16, 2014 at 2:35 pm #

    My soda bread is in the over right now. My 4 year old son helped me (& had a blast). We used the dough hook on a mixer, and the consistency was perfect, after kneading it by hand just to finish it off (smooth and “doughy”. Thanks for the recipe. Hope it tastes as great as it smells!!!

    • Liz March 16, 2014 at 2:58 pm #

      Using a dough hook is a great idea – that dough is so sticky.

  17. Christina Howell April 1, 2014 at 5:13 pm #

    Thanks for the recipe. I used it when I did a recipe for corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day. My loaf didn’t look as pretty as yours though because I had to a substitute for buttermilk. Next time, I will make sure I have the buttermilk.

    • Liz April 1, 2014 at 6:06 pm #

      Laughing because I almost threw my batter out before I baked it. Try the buttermilk!

  18. Ani {@afotogirl} March 12, 2015 at 1:23 pm #

    I want a slice of this right now! It looks delicious, Liz. 🙂

    • Liz March 12, 2015 at 2:16 pm #

      Thanks, Ani – I had such trouble with the dough that I almost threw it out before baking it – it was delicious…

  19. Kathryn March 15, 2016 at 6:04 pm #

    I made this tonight. My crust was tough. Could I have over handled it? The flavor was great, though!

    • Liz March 15, 2016 at 8:15 pm #

      I am so not a baker but it worked for me. Perhaps less manipulating the dough is a good thing. Let’s both try again?

  20. LuAnn March 18, 2016 at 5:20 pm #

    The bread looks beautiful on the outside but really under cooked on the inside. Did you bake for the full 30 minutes? I’m wondering if I should bake for a bit longer before removing the lid.

    • Liz March 18, 2016 at 5:59 pm #

      So sorry, the temperature and timing worked fine for me –

  21. Maggie May 28, 2017 at 2:35 pm #

    I wanted to ask why the second pan to cover could you use foil . going to make it tomorrow thanks so much for the recipe

    • Liz May 28, 2017 at 6:00 pm #

      Foil should work OK – good luck~

  22. Maggie May 30, 2017 at 3:17 pm #

    Thank you Liz,
    I was not to successful , my bread was a little dry but it soaked up the pasta it was yummy.
    I am going to try again.

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