Soda Bread

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Irish Soda Bread

Quick and easy, this Irish soda bread recipe is a classic. This version is made with flour, baking soda, buttermilk, raisins, egg, and a touch of sugar and salt. Don’t let the simplicity fool you — it’s a real keeper and takes less than 45 minutes.

Soda bread is a variety of quick bread traditionally made in a variety of cuisines in which sodium bicarbonate is used as a leavening agent instead of the traditional yeast. The ingredients of traditional soda bread are flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk. Wikipedia

What does this bread taste like? The taste of this bread is very mild and similar in flavor to a biscuit. But as with most bread, it’s not designed to be eaten on its own; it’s meant to be an accent to other flavors typically served with bread, like butter, jam, or meat.

Traditionally, bread in Ireland was made in a skillet because the all of the wheat that grew there was what is now called soft wheat, which contained a lot less gluten than its counterparts in Americas. The real domestic Irish wheat did not really interact very well with yeast and did not rise very well. Hence, Soda Bread out of necessity!

Why the Cross in the Center?

Why the cross in the center? Scoring the dough will help the heat reach the center of the loaf while baking.

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Soda Bread

Soda Bread

A wonderful recipe for Irish Soda Bread

  • Author: Simply Recipes
  • Prep Time: :15
  • Cook Time: :40
  • Total Time: :55
  • Yield: 1 Loaf
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Irish


  • 4 to 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 4 tablespoons butter, cubed and slightly softened

  • 1 cup currants or raisins

  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

  • 1 3/4 cups buttermilk



  • Preheat the oven: Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  • Whisk together the dry ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, whisk 4 cups of the flour together with the sugar, salt, and baking soda.
  • Work in the butter and add the currants: Using your (clean) fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Then add in the currants or raisins.
  • Add the egg and buttermilk: Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add the beaten egg and buttermilk to the well and mix in with a wooden spoon until the dough is too stiff to stir.
  • Form the dough: Use floured hands to gently gather the dough into a rough ball shape. The dough will be soft and sticky. If it is more like a batter than a dough, add up to 1/2 cup more flour until you have a sticky, shaggy dough.

    Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and shape into into a round loaf. Note that the dough will be a little sticky, and quite shaggy (a little like a shortcake biscuit dough).

  • You want to work it just enough so the flour is just moistened and the dough just barely comes together. Shaggy is good. If you over-work the dough the bread will end up tough.

  • Score with an X: Transfer the dough to a large, lightly greased cast-iron skillet or a baking sheet (It will flatten out a bit in the pan or on the baking sheet).

    Using a serrated knife, score the top of dough about an inch and a half deep in an “X” shape. The purpose of the scoring is to help heat get into the center of the dough while it cooks.

  • Bake until golden: Transfer to the oven and bake at 425°F until the bread is golden and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped, about 35 to 45 minutes. (If you use a cast iron pan, it may take a little longer as it takes longer for the pan to heat up than a baking sheet.)

    Check for doneness also by inserting a long, thin skewer into the center. If it comes out clean, it’s done.

    Hint 1: If the top is getting too dark while baking, tent the bread with some aluminum foil.

    Hint 2: If you use a cast iron skillet to cook the bread in the oven, be very careful when you take the pan out. It’s easy to forget that the handle is extremely hot. Be sure to put a pot holder over it.

  • Cool, slice, and serve: Remove the pan or sheet from the oven, and let the bread sit in the pan or on the sheet for 5 to 10 minutes. Then, remove to a rack to cool briefly.

    Serve the bread warm, at room temperature, or sliced and toasted. Best when eaten warm and just baked.

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