Irish soda bread is called as such because the traditional recipe uses baking soda—not yeast—as the leavening agent. Baking soda reacts with the buttermilk to create dough that is perfectly dense in just a few stirs…no waiting for the dough to rise!
We like to mix together some buttermilk and butter to brush along the outside of the loaf prior to baking. This gives the bread its iconic savory, flavored crust. Perfect Irish soda bread will have crust that’s dark brown in color.
We’ve updated the classic Irish soda bread to make it a little lighter. Don’t worry, it’s still ready in a snap! The bread can be made salty or sweet. Adding raisins, currants, or even dried cranberries, can make the loaf more of a dessert-like treat.
Irish Soda Bread Recipe
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 Tbsp buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray lightly with cooking spray. In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
- In a separate smaller bowl, combine buttermilk with beaten egg. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients and pour buttermilk and egg mixture along with the melted butter into the well and stir just until a ball of dough forms.
- Form dough into a cohesive ball and place on prepared baking sheet. Pat dough into about an 8"–9" round loaf (the loaf will be 3"–4" thick in the center). Use a sharp knife to cut an X into the top of the dough.
- Combine 2 Tbsp melted butter with 2 Tbsp buttermilk and brush entire amount onto the dough, covering the entire loaf. Bake 40–50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool until warm or room temperature, slice and serve.
No yeast means no long wait times—just stir together the ingredients, bake and enjoy!