Irish Soda Bread Recipe:  Feed Your Irish Side with this Simple Yet Delicious Food!

Our favorite Irish soda bread recipe is a simple and tasty way to bring the flavors of Ireland into your home! Here you will find our favorite approach and variations for this delicious expression of Irish culture.

Irish Expressions - Irish Soda Bread

This Irish staple food uses bicarbonate of soda (also known as baking soda) for a leavening agent along with a catalyst, usually buttermilk. The soda and buttermilk take the place of yeast.

And the best Irish Soda Bread recipe does not have to be cooked in an oven either. For example it could be cooked in a bastible pot (like a Dutch oven).

Where Does Irish Soda Bread Come From?

Soda Bread probably did not actually originate in Ireland... The earliest it is mentioned is leavened bread made with soda ash by the American Indians.

In 1840, bicarbonate of soda for use in baking was introduced to Ireland. It appears that soda bread became a staple of the Irish diet between 1840 and 1845.

What Makes Soda Bread Famous?

It is said that soda bread became so popular in Ireland, in part because it is well suited for the soft grains that flourished there.

Unlike the harder grains, soft grains do not do as well with yeast. This is because of the lower gluten content. Bicarbonate of Soda was cheap to buy too. It became a traditional staple for the Irish diet.

Why Carve a 'Cross' Into It?

One traditional technique, before the bread is cooked, is to carve the shape of a cross into the top. One reason is to help the bread heat evenly, although some believe it has religious meaning too.

When the bread is done, it breaks easily along the lines of the cross.

But the best thing about Irish soda bread is also the most obvious. It tastes terrific!

Here are some common recipes...

White Irish Soda Bread Recipe:  Ingredients

  • 4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 14 oz buttermilk

White Irish Soda Bread Recipe:  Preparation

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F
  2. Grease a round-shaped cake pan lightly and flour it.
  3. In a big bowl, sift the dry ingredients together to mix them well.
  4. Add buttermilk until you get dough that is still sticky.
  5. Turn out onto a floured board and slightly knead it (so that the gas does not totally escape). Form bread dough into rounded shape to fit the round-shaped cake pan.
  6. On the top on the bread, make a cross-shaped cut.
  7. Make a lid using another cake pan of the same size (remember this bread was cooked in pots with lids at one time).
  8. Cook the bread covered for 30 minutes. Then take the lid off and cook 15 more minutes. Bread is done when hollow sounding when tapped on bottom.
  9. To keep the bread a bit moist while cooling cover with a lightly dampened towel.
  10. Serve with some butter and it is great with jelly or jam.

Brown Irish Soda Bread Recipe:  Ingredients

  • 1 cup of white flour the all-purpose type
  • 3 cups of wheat flour or whole-meal flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 14 ounces of buttermilk

Brown Irish Soda Bread:  Preparation

  1. Preheat an oven to the temperature of 425 degrees F.
  2. Grease a cake pan lightly and flour it.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, sift the dry ingredients together.
  4. Slowly mix in the buttermilk until the dough is sticky.
  5.  Very lightly knead on a surface that is floured (be careful here not to let too much of the gas get out).
  6. Shape the dough to fit into the round-shaped cake pan make a cut in the shape of a cross across the top of it.
  7. Take another pan and use as a lid this takes the place of the bastible pot traditionally used; bake this for about 30 minutes.
  8. Take off the lid and bake 15 more minutes.
  9. Tap on the bottom of this bread and if it makes a hollow sound, it is done.
  10. Take a clean towel and cover it and lightly dampen. This helps the bread stay moist as it cools.
  11. Serve with butter. This Irish soda bread recipe is hearty enough to go with soup or stew.

Hungry for More Irish Recipes?

Sharing Irish food is one of our favorite ways to enjoy an Irish experience, wherever in the world we happen to be!  

The flavors of an Irish meal, and the stories that come along with many Irish recipes, gives us a sense of connection with the Emerald Isle.

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