This easy Irish soda bread is a classic. It only uses 4 ingredients and is quick to throw together. The best part is it is done in about 45 minutes.
There is nothing better than good food that takes very few ingredients. I love this Irish soda bread for that specific reason. It is very tasty and very simple. While it is good just on its own slathered in butter it is also great dishes like bread pudding.
In this recipe
There are only four ingredients for this recipe however this a great base to add additional flavors like raisins, currants, cinnamon and the like. However I would advise adding too many additional ingredients as it will diverge from the classic and authentic recipe that is so beloved.
Soda bread is a quick bread
An interesting note is that Irish soda bread is considered a quick bread. Other quick breads that you might be familiar with would be banana bread or zucchini bread. Quick breads use baking soda and/or baking powder as their rising agents instead of yeast. This is what allows them to be made so quickly and also where they get their name from.
Baking soda needs an acid to trigger the chemical reaction that creates air bubbles and gives the bread it’s rise. This is why we use buttermilk in the recipe. The acidic nature of the buttermilk will activate the baking soda and give us that wonderful texture that soda bread is known for. Like my boule de pain there are very few ingredients and this is to ensure that we enjoy the taste of these few simple ingredients.
Traditionally this recipe is made in a cast iron skillet. When baking it this way make sure that when you preheat your oven the skillet is in the oven when it is cold. You need a hot skillet in order to cook this bread properly. If you do not you will have a hard crusty top and a raw uncooked bottom. A little trick at the end is to finish baking it upside down.
Authentic and Easy Irish Soda Bread
- Food processor optional
- Mixing Bowl
- Lined sheet pan
- Cast iron skillet optional
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1¾ cups buttermilk
- Preheat the oven to 425°F or gas mark 7. If using a cast iron skillet place in the oven when cold to preheat with the oven.
- If using a food processor blend the flour, baking soda, and salt together. Add the buttermilk and blend until dough has formed. If using a bowl mix the flour, salt, and baking soda until combined and then add the buttermilk until a dough is formed. The dough will still be a little sticky and that is ok.
- Shape the dough into a ball about 8 inches, 21 cm, in diameter. Slice an x in the top of the dough and bake for 35 minutes and then turn the soda bread upside-down and bake for another 5 minutes.
- Allow to cool before slicing.