Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread, what’s not to love? Interestingly this is not a recipe that we ate regularly in my childhood.  Mam has her own, rather special version that I will share with you in the future with her permission.  This recipe though is very close to that which I learnt to bake in school.

Because Irish Soda bread has no yeast, it means you don’t have to wait for it to rise.  I don’t make mine with salt, it’s something I’m very concious of when working out our meals for the week. The lack of salt then means that the bread doesn’t preserve.

You don’t really want to preserve bread anyway, it’s best eaten fresh or the leftovers frozen for breadcrumbs.  However I often find that recipes for Irish Soda Bread tend to be on the big size.  I like to make just enough to feed my family for 1 day so I’ve adjusted the quantities for a smaller amount.

There is something very special about the smell of baking coursing through the house.  By the time the bread is baked, I normally have everybody underfoot waiting for it to cool.  Or if you’re my hubby you’re clamouring for a crusty piece while it’s still warm!

Anyway here is my interpretation of an Irish Soda Bread Recipe that feeds a family of 5 for 1 meal with no leftovers and no waste.


  • 100g strong white flour
  • 100g coarse wholemeal flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 25g salted butter, softened100ml buttermilk
  • Extra buttermilk for dabbing on top & some seeds of your choice.


Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celcius and line a baking tray.

In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking soda & butter until you get small breadcrumbs.
Pour in the buttermilk and loosely mix until it all comes together in a dough.  If it’s a little dry add a small amount of water.

Once you have a loose dough, shape into a round with your hands.  Put the dough lightly onto a baking tray and using a sharp knife, cut a deep cross into the bread but don’t cut through the whole way. Brush the top of the bread with extra buttermilk and sprinkle with seeds of your choice.

Bake for approximately 35 minutes. Turn off the oven, remove the bread from the tray and wrap in a damp tea towel then return it to the warm oven to cool.  This gives you a soft crust.  If you like a hard crust then leave to cool on a rack with no damp tea towel.

PS: This recipe originally appeared on Mod Erin Design‘s blog in March 2013.  If you’re looking for contemporary Irish design inspiration, it’s the place to go so do check it out!

15 thoughts on “Irish Soda Bread”

  1. Could the strong flour be replaced with regular all purpose white flour or would that have a big impact on the recipe? I have everything else in the house so would be perfect for tea this evening!

    1. Hi Lola. Sorry for the delay. I was out of the country & the signal wasn’t good enough to respond. Anyway. Yes I’d try it with plain flour no bother. It might become slightly on the cakey side but as you’d be eating straight away that shouldn’t make a huge difference.

  2. Hi! I found you through the TOTS 100 foodies blog roll widget.Soda bread is one of our favourite to eat for breakfast. I’ve made several different versions but I’ve never tried using seeds.

  3. Hi, I’ve been after an old soda bread recipe for my husband, My da use to make a grand one I remember watching him but it didn’t have butter milk…. does your mam use butter milk?

    1. Hi Anne yes we normally use buttermilk. The reason for this is for the reaction it makes with the bread soda. You could also try using 1/4 natural yoghurt to 3/4 full fat milk.

      1. Karen Gaffney

        I’m very confused about the difference between soda bread and brown bread. I make soda bread at home in California and the brown bread I’ve had in Ireland served with soup is very different (softer, more cakey). However, when I search for recipes for brown bread, I pull up soda bread recipes. Is there a difference? Thanks.

        1. Hi Karen, yes there definitely is. This recipe is for regular soda bread so it’s normally made with a combination of flour, buttermilk, bread soda, and sometimes butter. That’s a classic soda recipe. The bread you’re familiar with is what we call ‘brown bread’ and here’s my recipe for it. it’s radically different although the key ingredients are similar. I hope that helps!

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  7. Richard Seibert

    Hello, I am a student in culinary school and I have a country project where we make dishes known to the country and I planned to use this recipe and your Irish stew recipe and was wondering if you had any tips, this is my first time making a bread from scratch.

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