Soda bread is a type of quick bread where baking soda is used as a leavening agent instead of yeast, similar to our vegan beer bread recipe. While a variety of other ingredients can be added to the mix, such as butter, eggs, sugar, and raisins, traditional Irish Soda Bread calls for only four ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk. The buttermilk is necessary because it contains lactic acid, which reacts with the sodium bicarbonate to create carbon dioxide bubbles.
In this recipe, we walk you through a very simple (and traditional) Irish Soda Bread Recipe. With just four ingredients and less than an hour of prep and baking, even beginner bakers can enjoy this bread recipe!
- Preheat oven to 425°F and butter a baking sheet (or cast iron skillet for added authenticity).
- Sift together dry ingredients into a large bowl. Create a well in the mixture and pour in the buttermilk. Add enough buttermilk until the batter forms moist clumps. Use your hands to thoroughly mix the dough and incorporate the flour on the sides of the bowl. Your dough should be soft, but not too wet or sticky. If it’s too sticky, slowly add more flour as needed.
- Turn out the dough on a lightly floured surface and gently knead just until the dough all comes together. You want to avoid overworking the dough because the leavening action starts immediately.
- Form the dough into a round, approximately 1.5” to 2” thick. Transfer the dough to your greased sheet of skillet. Use a sharp knife to cut a thick cross into the center of the dough round from end-to-end. This will help ensure that the bread will cook in the center.
- Bake until the bread has developed a nice golden-brown color and sounds hollow when you tap the bottom, approximately 35-40 minutes.
- Transfer your baked dough to a rack and allow it to cool completely before enjoying your fresh baked loaf!
Irish Soda Bread is best enjoyed fresh, so dig in!
For a less traditional (but still delicious!) Irish Soda Bread, you can add two tablespoons of caraway seeds, sugar, or 1 cup of raisins/currants. Note that additional add-ins may affect baking time and the ratios of other ingredients needed.
Want to try a vegan Irish soda bread recipe? While we haven’t tested out this version ourselves, substituting buttermilk for non-dairy milk and adding 1-2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar might give you similar results, as the vinegar will activate the baking soda.
If you try this recipe, let us know! You can show us your creations on social media by using #ingredimade.