Traditional Dutch oven Irish soda bread is easy to make using just 4 simple ingredients. There's no yeast in this quick bread recipe because it uses baking soda and buttermilk for leavening!
Along with the traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner, Irish soda bread (or brown soda bread) is a popular and traditional St. Patrick’s Day recipe.
Eaten for breakfast with butter and jam, or served with a hearty beef stew, its subtle flavor makes it versatile and delicious.
The bread is kind of a mix between a biscuit and scone, with a dense, yet soft and moist crumb texture inside and slightly crusty outside.
Some people like adding raisins, orange zest or nuts to their soda bread, which I've added in the recipe notes if you'd like to do so.
What is traditional Irish Soda Bread made of?
- Baking Soda
(Other ingredients like raisins and caraway seeds can be added for a more Americanized version.)
You'll notice there's no yeast in this quick bread recipe.
That's because the baking soda and buttermilk help make the bread rise without the need for yeast.
Irish soda bread doesn't taste like much. It's very bland which is why it's great for serving with hearty stews or with lots of butter and smear of jam for breakfast.
Is Irish Soda Bread really Irish?
Traditional “Irish” soda bread was made from just the 4 ingredients mentioned above and is actually called Brown soda bread in Ireland.
It was introduced in the 1800s when people didn’t have stoves yet and usually made in a cast iron pan over a fire.
The ingredients were inexpensive and the bread lasted weeks, making it an ideal recipe during that early time period.
Additions like raisins, sugar, butter and egg were added as “luxury” ingredients, if the family had them on hand.
What is the best way to eat Irish Soda Bread?
Warm out of the oven and smeared with butter!
I also like making my favorite Guinness beef stew and serving the bread on the side to soak up that delicious stew juice.
Irish soda bread keeps room temperature for about 3 days or in the refrigeator for up to 1 week.
You can reheat any leftover bread in the oven or toaster oven for 10-15 minutes until the inside is warmed and outside is crusty.
Soda Bread Recipe Tips:
- Baking Pan: This recipe for Irish soda bread is made in a covered Dutch oven pan. Covering the pan creates perfect steam for creating a moist inside and perfect crusty outside. You can also use a cast iron skillet, or 9-10" cake pan.
- Buttermilk: the buttermilk is essential in this quick bread recipe as it's the key to having the bread rise. If you don't have any on hand, you can make your own buttermilk by adding 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice and then adding enough milk to measure 1 ¾ cup. Let it sit for a minute or two before using in the recipe.
- Scoring the top of the loaf with an "X" before baking was said to keep the devil out. Aside from tradition, I like scoring the top of the loaf to make sure the center bakes through.
Made with just 4 simple ingredients, this traditional Irish Soda bread recipe is quick, easy and delicious making it the perfect St. Patty's day recipe.
Plus, there's no need to wait for the dough to rise ;).
For more St. Patrick's Day Recipes Try:
- Corned Beef and Cabbage Dinner (Crock Pot or Instant Pot!)
- Leftover Corned Beef and Cabbage Soup
- Best Mint Brownies
- 2 cups All Purpose Flour
- 2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
- 2 teaspoons Baking Soda
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 ¾ cup Buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a dutch oven with parchment paper (it can go up the sides, no need to trim!)
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda and salt. Gradually stir in the buttermilk until the dough comes together in a ball.
- Knead gently 3-4 times (you may need to add some flour to prevent sticking to your hands). Form the dough into a ball and then place in bottom of Dutch oven.
- Flatten slightly into a larger disk, about 6" wide. Using a small pairing knife, cut an "X" into the dough, about ½" deep. Place lid on top of Dutch oven.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, covered, then remove the top pan and bake uncovered for about 20 minutes more or until the crust is golden brown and crispy.
- Let cool 10 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Baking Pan: This recipe for Irish soda bread is made in a covered Dutch oven pan. Covering the pan creates perfect steam for creating a moist inside and perfect crusty outside. You can also use a 9-10" cast iron skillet, or a greased 9-10" cake pan.
Buttermilk: the buttermilk is essential in this quick bread recipe as it's the key to having the bread rise. If you don't have any on hand, you can make your own buttermilk by adding 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice and then adding enough milk to measure 1 ¾ cup. Let it sit for a minute or two before using in the recipe.
Storing/Freezing: Irish Soda bread will stay fresh 2-3 days room temperature in a zip lock bag or wrapped very well. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Unsaturated Fat: 0g