This Irish soda bread is a light and tender loaf studded with plenty of raisins and baked to golden brown perfection. A super easy quick bread recipe that pairs well with so many different main course options!
Whether it’s St. Patrick’s Day or just any old weeknight during the cold weather months, you can often find me whipping up a loaf of Irish soda bread. There’s no kneading, no rising, and you can have fresh, hot, bread on your table in no time!
What is Irish soda bread?
Soda bread is a quick bread that always contains four basic ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt and buttermilk. Other ingredients are often added to enhance the flavor of the bread, such as sugar, butter, eggs, raisins and citrus. The bread is shaped into a loaf, then scored with an X pattern and baked until golden brown.
Why is soda bread popular in Ireland?
Soda bread originally became popular back in the days when baking soda became available for use in home kitchens. Baking soda was relatively inexpensive and had a long shelf life, so many households kept it on hand so that they could make their own bread. Furthermore, buttermilk was a very common ingredient at the time, which is why it is featured in soda bread recipes from today and from years ago.
How do you make Irish soda bread?
This recipe starts with flour, sugar, baking soda and salt, which are stirred together. Cubes of cold butter are cut into the flour mixture until coarse crumbs form. The next step is to stir in a healthy amount of raisins for a touch of sweetness. Finally, add buttermilk and egg and stir until a stiff dough forms. The dough gets shaped into a round, then goes into a pan. Score the top of the bread with a sharp knife, then bake it until golden brown.
Tips for the perfect loaf
- I use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the dough. If you don’t have a pastry blender, two forks will do the job.
- If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can make your own. Combine 2 cups of milk with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Let the milk sit for about 10 minutes or until the mixture looks curdled, then proceed with the recipe.
- You can omit the raisins if you prefer a soda bread that’s on the savory side. You can also add other ingredients such as lemon zest, orange zest or caraway seeds. Another common alteration is to swap out the raisins for dried currants.
- The dough will be sticky and soft. Use flour on your hands and on your work surface as needed to keep the dough from sticking and to form a nicely shaped loaf.
How long will soda bread stay fresh?
Soda bread stays fresh for up to 3 days at room temperature in an airtight container. It can also be frozen for up to 2 months. Freeze the bread in individual slices or as a whole loaf. Let the bread thaw at room temperature, then serve. You can also microwave your bread for a few seconds to get that fresh from the oven taste.
Whether you’re celebrating St. Patrick’s Day or simply looking for an easy homemade bread recipe, this soda bread is sure to be a hit!
More St. Patrick’s Day recipes you’ll enjoy
Irish Soda Bread Video
Irish Soda Bread
- 4 cups all purpose flour plus more for dusting the work surface
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups raisins
- 1/4 cup butter cold, cut into small pieces
- 1 3/4 cups buttermilk
- 1 egg
- cooking spray
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 9 inch round pan with cooking spray.
- Place the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Stir to combine.
- Add the butter to the bowl, and use a pastry blender or two forks to cut the butter into the flour mixture until coarse crumbs form.
- Stir the raisins into the flour mixture.
- Add the buttermilk and egg to the flour mixture and stir until a stiff dough forms.
- Place the dough on a floured flat surface. Coat your hands in flour and shape the dough into a ball. The dough will be sticky.
- Transfer the ball of dough to the prepared pan. Use a sharp knife to cut an X into the top of the loaf.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
- Cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes, then slice and serve.