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Irish Soda Bread Recipe

This Irish Soda Bread Recipe is so easy and so delicious! Tender with a crunchy buttery top, this bread is perfect with soups and stews. No kneading, no yeast required.

Looking for a delicious addition to your dinner of soup or stew? This Irish Soda Bread is the perfect addition…smother slices with butter and dip them into your dinner. So good. Perfect for St. Patrick’s Day (see below for a delicious St. Patrick’s Day menu idea).

a loaf of Irish Soda Bread sitting on a wire cooling rack

About this Irish Soda Bread:

This Irish Soda Bread is a delicious quick bread that can be ready and on your dinner table in about 1 hour. It has a tender crumb and a nice crunchy, buttery crust. This bread requires no yeast and no kneading, so it’s really easy to make.

a loaf of Irish Soda Bread cut into slices

Crust option:

I like to brush the top of this Irish soda bread with a buttermilk/butter mixture while it bakes. This mixture gives it a nice buttery flavoured crust. You don’t have to do this, the bread will also turn out beautifully without it.

a loaf of Irish Soda Bread cut into slices

How to bake Irish Soda Bread:

Here is a quick visual of what the bread dough should like like before baking. Shape the dough into a ball about 8 inches wide, and place it on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Cut an X into the top if you like. Brush with buttermilk/butter and bake!

a top down image of a parchment paper lined baking pan and a ball of dough
a top down image of a ball of Irish Soda Bread dough sitting on a baking pan. the top of the loaf has an X cut into it
a top down image of a ball of Irish Soda Bread dough sitting on a baking pan. the top of the loaf has an X cut into it. the dough is brushed with buttermilk and butter
a top down image of a freshly baked loaf of Irish Soda Bread sitting on a baking pan

The story behind the X on top of Irish Soda Bread:

The story from Ireland, is that the X was cut into the top of the bread for superstitious reasons. Irish people believed that this X or cross would let the fairies out or ward off evil and protect their household. (source)

a loaf of Irish Soda Bread cut into slices

Irish Soda Bread Recipe Tips

  • Flour: Use all purpose flour.
  • Butter: Use cold, salted butter.
  • Buttermilk Substitute: If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can substitute it with 1 + 1/2 cups sour cream plus 1/4 cup milk. OR: add 1 tbsp lemon juice to a measuring cup and top with milk until it measures 1 + 3/4 cups, let sit for 5 minutes, then proceed with the recipe.
  • Storage: Keep this bread tightly wrapped on your counter, you don’t need to refrigerate it. This bread is best enjoyed within 1 to 3 days as it does dry out more quickly than traditional bread. If it becomes a little dry, toast it and slather on butter and jam!
  • Line the baking pan with parchment paper so it doesn’t stick to the pan.
  • Don’t over mix the batter or you will end up with a very dense loaf.
  • Make sure to let your loaf cool before cutting it, or it will crumble.
  • Freezing: This soda bread freezes well. Store in an airtight ziplock back for up to 3 months. You can freeze the bread whole as a loaf, or in slices. Let come to room temperature before reheating.
  • Can I add raisins? Absolutely. You can add about 1 cup of raisins or currants…do this right after cutting the butter into the flour.

St. Patrick’s Day Menu

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Irish Soda Bread Recipe

This Irish Soda Bread Recipe is so easy and so delicious! Tender with a crunchy buttery top, this bread is perfect with soups and stews. No kneading, no yeast required.

  • Author: Jo-Anna Rooney
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 1 loaf 1x
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baking

Ingredients

Units Scale

Irish Soda Bread:

  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 6 tbsp cold butter
  • 1 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg

Topping:

  • 2 tbsp buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp melted butter

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda.
  4. Cut the butter into the flour mixture either using a pastry cutter, or even your hands! I actually find it much easier just to use my fingers to do this part. When done, the butter should be in pea-sized chunks. Be careful not to over mix, or the bread will be dense and tough.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and buttermilk.
  6. Pour the milk/egg mixture into the flour ingredients, then mix with a fork until it all comes together in a semi-sticky ball.
  7. Add some flour to your countertop (make a lightly floured surface) then shape the dough into a ball. If the dough is too sticky, dust with a little flour until you can work with it. It’s ok if it’s a little sticky.
  8. Transfer the dough ball to the baking sheet.
  9. Use a very sharp knife to cut an X into the top (as shown in the pictures).
  10. Mix together the topping ingredients: 2 tbsp buttermilk and 2 tbsp melted butter. Then brush the top generously with it.
  11. Bake for 45 minutes. While the bread is baking, brush the top with the buttermilk/butter mixture a few times, this makes the top a nice golden brown.
  12. When the bread is done, remove it from the oven and cool on a wire rack for about 15 minutes before cutting.

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