Sunday, May 30, 2021

My Recipe Box - Irish Soda Bread

My mom would often make soda bread, usually with raisins. 

But who knew that there was a Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread????
Just like the bagpipes weren't invented by the Scots, the chemical reaction that makes Soda Bread what it is, wasn't invented by the Irish. The earliest reference to using soda ash in baking bread seems to be credited to American Indians using it to leaven their bread.
However, as the Scots have made the bagpipe their instrument, the Irish have made Soda Bread theirs. Not by choice, but by a state of poverty that made it the easiest and least expensive bread to put on the table. The earliest recipe found to date in Ireland is from 1836. 
All recipes for traditional soda bread contain flour, baking soda, sour milk (buttermilk) and salt. That's it!!!

I've adapted this for gluten free and it is quite good. You can make it savory or sweet.

This photo has a cheese on the left and cranberry on the right.

If baking gluten free let your bread rest, covered at room temperature, for 20 minutes before baking.


2 cups all-purpose flour gluten free
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs - rosemary, basil, thyme, Italian seasoning, onion powder etc
4 ounces medium or sharp cheddar cheese shredded
1 cup buttermilk - add 1 Tbs apple cider vinegar to regular milk
1 large egg see note below
1 tablespoon melted butter


Preheat the oven to 425˚Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and sprinkle it lightly with flour.

In a medium-large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir to combine. Add the herbs and cheese. Stir again. Run through the dough with your fingers to break apart any cheese that might have stuck together.
Combine the egg and the buttermilk in a small bowl or cup and stir until well combined.
 Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the buttermilk and egg. Stir just until all of the flour is incorporated..

Turn the dough out onto a work surface that has been generously dusted with flour. Turn the dough several times to coat with flour (I like to use a bench scraper for this), then form into a round loaf. If the dough is sticky and difficult to shape, add a little extra flour to the work surface.
Transfer the loaf to the prepared sheet pan. With a sharp serrated knife and cut an X on top of the loaf.
Bake for 20 minutes. Cover with foil if getting too brown and bake for another 8–10 minutes. The top should be a nice golden brown.
Brush the loaf with melted butter and allow it to cool for 20 minutes before slicing. Slice thick and serve with butter.

Cranberries and orange zest
Raisins and cinnamon
Blueberry lemon
Chopped apricots and orange zest
Caraway seeds 
Poppyseeds and lemon
Cheddar bacon
Cheddar bacon and jalapenos
Spinach - for a natural green colour!!

You could swap out the egg for a 1/4 cup of applesauce or banana if making it sweet.


Sep 2021 - I tried this gluten free recipe and it is also good, but a bigger loaf.

Feb 2023 - no eggs Chef Alina

500 grams all purpose flour or 1:1 gluten free flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons sugar
56 grams butter ½ stick
160 grams raisins or currents
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
392 grams buttermilk


Place 1/2 stick butter in the freezer.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
.Whisk first 5 ingredients in large bowl to blend.
Remove butter from the freezer and, using a box grater , shred the butter into the flour mixture and quickly rub it in until coarse crumbs form and it is evenly distributed.
Stir in raisins and caraway seeds.
Add buttermilk to dough.
Using a wooden spoon (or your hands), gently fold the dough together until it is too stiff to stir. With lightly floured hands on a lightly floured surface, work the dough into a ball as best as you can. Knead the dough for about 30 seconds or until all the flour is moistened. If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour. Do not overwork the dough or your bread will be tough and chewy.
Transfer the dough to the prepared pan. Using a very sharp knife, score an X into the top. **Bake until the bread is golden brown and center appears cooked through, about 45 minutes. Loosely cover the bread with aluminum foil if you notice heavy browning on top.
Remove from the oven and allow bread to cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm, at room temperature, or toasted with your favorite spreads & toppings.
Cover and store the bread at room temperature for 2 days or well wrapped in the freezer for up to 1 month.


  1. I never made Irish soda bread. But I think it would be great with cup of coffee.
    Coffee is on and stay safe

  2. My husband loves soda bread toast with marmalade. I use half all purpose flour and half whole wheat and add fennel seeds and currants to it.

  3. I need to add buttermilk to my list and get on this!


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