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Simple White Irish Soda Bread

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Dense, hearty, and perfect with butter and jam, my Simple White Irish Soda Bread recipe is as easy as it gets, while giving you that classic taste of an Irish home. 


Hi Bold Bakers!

There’s something really special about re-creating the Irish staples I grew up on. From taking nostalgic recipes like Irish Scones and My Aunty Rosaline’s Irish Christmas Cake, and making them big and bold, to sharing with you my Traditional Irish Bread and Butter Pudding, revamping the classics is what I’m all about. This recipe for Simple White Irish Soda Bread is no exception — and to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, I recorded this special recipe for you almost entirely in Irish!

Soda bread is all about taking just a few basic ingredients and turning them into a hearty homemade bread. This recipe has all my trips and tricks for making White Irish Soda Bread a truly outstanding savory baked good.

What makes Soda Bread Irish?

Bread-making was an integral part of daily life in almost every home in Ireland. Families lived in isolated farmhouses and cooked most of their meals with humble ingredients. The main ingredients in Irish Soda Bread which are flour, buttermilk, and baking soda, are still things almost everyone has on-hand. I love how just a few ingredients combine to make a loaf of bread that is tender and dense, with a slight tang and a crunchy crust.

[ Try my Brown Irish Soda Bread recipe, too! ]

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Can I make soda bread without eggs?

Soda bread really only requires flour, buttermilk, baking soda, and salt. That said it’s really a lovely bread when enriched with eggs and butter. For my recipe, I decided to add in just 1 egg, but you can leave this out if you like. If you do choose to make this bread without the egg you will want to add in some additional buttermilk to balance the whole recipe out and make sure there is the right amount of moisture.

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Can I make this without buttermilk?

All Soda Bread requires an acidic liquid to activate the baking soda and to help the bread to rise up and have the correct texture. For this reason, I would not suggest trying to make soda bread without the buttermilk.

How to Store Soda Bread

This bread is lovely sliced and toasted up the next day. Cover the bread and store it at room temperature for up to 4 days. If you’d like, you can also freeze the leftover bread for up to 3 weeks!

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Tips and tricks to making Simple White Irish Soda Bread

  • Since the buttermilk will immediately create a reaction with the baking soda, it’s best to mix this batter up and get it into the oven as quickly as possible.
  • To ensure the crust comes out extra crispy don’t open the oven door during baking. No peeking!
  • It’s best to allow the butter to sit out beforehand and come to room temperature. This will make the butter easier to rub into the flour and speed up the whole process.
  • If you don’t have buttermilk and can’t find it, you can make your own using my Buttermilk Substitute!
  • If you want to change up the flavor of this bread, you can add nuts or dried fruit. Adding a bit of sugar and some raisins would be lovely. 

Get More Bread Recipes!

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4.55 from 31 votes
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Simple White Irish Soda Bread Recipe
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
1 hr 5 mins
 

Dense, hearty, and perfect with butter & jam, my Simple White Irish Soda Bread recipe is as easy as it gets, giving you that classic taste of an Irish home.

Course: bread
Cuisine: Irish
Servings: 10
Author: Gemma Stafford
Ingredients
  • 3 1/2 cups (18oz/497g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons (1oz/28g) butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 3/4 cups (14oz/400ml) buttermilk*
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F (210°C).

  2. Mix together the flour, salt and baking soda in a large bowl. Add the butter and rub into the flour mixture with your fingertips until it resembles coarse bread crumbs.

  3. In a separate jug, whisk the egg and buttermilk together (see note on how to make Buttermilk below)
  4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour 3/4 of the liquid into the flour mixture.

  5. Using an open hand bring the flour and liquid together to a loose dough. The dough should be quite soft, but not too sticky. You can add a little more of the milk mix if it is needed.  (flours in different places react differently).
  6. Turn onto a floured work surface and gently bring the dough together into a round about 8 inches by 8 inches. Place on a baking sheet dusted well with flour

  7. Score the bread by blessing it with a deep cross on top. Poke a hole in the 4 corners of the bread to release the fairies and stop them from cursing your beautiful bread (see video).

  8. Glaze the bread with the leftover bit of buttermilk in your jug. 

  9. Bake for 15 minutes at 425°F (210°C), then turn down the oven to 400°F (200°C) and bake for 30 minutes more. When done, the loaf will sound slightly hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove from the baking sheet and place on a wire rack to cool.

  10. Serve with Irish butter and jam. Store at room temperature for 4 days.

Watch the Recipe Video!

Recipe Notes

Buttermilk: Make your own Buttermilk really easily! 

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Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I’m passionate about sharing my years of experience to show you how to make game-changing baking recipes with over-the-top results! Join more than 1 Million other Bold Bakers in the community for new video recipes every week!

Have you made a recipe? Share photos on my website or across social media with the hashtag #boldbaker.

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112 Comments

Write a Comment and Review

  1. Tawny on September 15, 2019 at 5:28 pm

    I love this simple white Irish soda bread and it is my second Irish soda bread I have made from your recipes. I used this recipe to make simple white Irish soda bread bowles I also uploaded some pics as well. I also can not wait to get your cookbook that I ordered today. Thank you for all of your awesome recipes.

    • Gemma Stafford on September 16, 2019 at 11:05 am

      Thanks a million Tawny. All of you bold bakers warm my heart.

      • Tawny on September 16, 2019 at 12:37 pm

        Your welcome 😀

  2. Arisa on August 25, 2019 at 11:18 am

    Hi Gemma! I made this Irish soda bread a week ago and it was great! My husband loves it maybe a little too much and ate 95% of the bread by himself! haha I’m making another loaf today. Thank you for the great recipe! Also, I can’t wait to get your cookbook:)

    • Gemma Stafford on August 26, 2019 at 10:08 am

      This makes me happy Arisa! Thank you for baking with us. Keep me posted on your kitchen adventures.

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