Irish Soda Bread is a quick bread that is made without yeast, so it is super simple to make. It is great for soaking up gravy or eating with a pad of butter.
There are so many types of bread, but this is the perfect St. Patrick’s Day bread to eat with your Irish meal. It would also be a great side dish to serve with Irish Beef Stew or pot roast.
If you love easy bread recipes that don’t use yeast, try my Cheese Quick Bread.
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Irish Soda Bread Ingredients
To make this sweet Irish Soda Bread recipe, you will need the following ingredients (go to the recipe below for detailed amounts and instructions):
- All-purpose flour: This recipe doesn’t require any fancy flour. All-purpose flour will do the trick! You can substitute up to 1 cup of whole wheat flour for this bread (meaning 1 cup whole wheat flour + 3 cups all-purpose flour). Just be aware that the addition of whole wheat flour means that you will have a denser bread.
- Granulated sugar: The addition of sugar gives the bread a touch of sweetness. This bread tastes best with jam or marmalade for this reason, but it isn’t so sweet that you can’t eat this bread with savory ingredients. You can make it even sweeter by sprinkling more sugar on top while it’s baking.
- Baking Soda: The baking soda, baking powder, and buttermilk are seen in almost every soda bread. They are what gives the bread its traditional lift and texture.
- Baking powder
- Buttermilk: You can use regular milk and sour it up with 2 tablespoons of vinegar or lemon juice. Just make sure that you sour it before adding it to the rest of the bread ingredients.
- Softened butter: I love the extra fat and moisture that butter gives this bread. If you don’t have butter on hand, you can use butter flavored shortening, regular shortening, or lard instead.
- Egg: Make sure it’s beaten ahead of time so that it’s easier to incorporate. This helps hold the bread together and makes the consistency more bread-like instead of a cake like texture.
- Coarse or Raw sugar (optional): I love to top the bread with melted butter and coarse sugar for a little extra added sweetness. You can use either coarse sugar or regular granulated sugar. If you don’t like the idea of a sweet bread, feel free to simply brush on the butter and omit the sugar.
How to Make Irish Soda Bread
It is really easy to make non-yeast bread. Just follow these instructions:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- Mix the ingredients. Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and stir. Add in softened butter, buttermilk, and beaten egg and stir (you can use a wooden spoon or your hands. I have found that this is a little bit easier when I use my hands).
- Knead and shape the bread. Knead bread until all the ingredients are combined (no more than 10 kneads). Place on a heavy baking sheet or pizza stone. Shape into a ball and flatten until about 2 inches thick. You do not want it any more than 2 inches thick or the middle will not cook all the way through. Cut an x across the top with a sharp knife. Brush melted butter on top of bread and sprinkle sugar on top. The result will be a beautiful bread loaf!
- Bake the bread. Bake in oven for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown. It should sound hollow when you turn over and knocked on the bottom.
- Finish it off. Feel free to brush bread with more butter and sugar during the baking process for a sweeter bread. Best when served warm with butter and jam. Enjoy!
There are many variations to this recipe, including adding the following add-ins or substitutions for soda bread:
- Orange zest
What Is The Consistency of Soda Bread?
Even though soda bread gets a nice rise from its ingredients, it is a dense bread. It is not light and fluffy like sandwich bread.
Even with the addition of sugar, it’s not an overly sweet bread (like challah). It has a hint of sweetness. You can up that sweetness with more butter and sugar during the cooking process.
- Room Temp – You can store soda bread for 4-5 days at room temperature. Once it’s cut, place it in an airtight paper bag.
- Refrigerator – You can also store it in the refrigerator but it may dry out the loaf more quickly.
- Freezer – This bread also freezes well. Slice before freezing for up to 3 months.