It was just great, best ever and so, so simple
I made this for st. Pat’s day. The only deviation was I added 2 tbsp of caraway seeds. It came out perfectly! Nice crunchy crust and moist inside. My husband said it was the best he ever had! I had to make another this week!
I’m so glad you and your husband liked it Peggy!
I followed this recipe without exception and was rather disappointed. It was very heavy and crumbly. I may give is another try later; but for now I would not recommend this recipe.
Hi Jim, soda bread is heavy and crumbly. I do recommend letting it cool all the way down before cutting into it. That will make it less crumbly.
Why do my raisens fall to the bottom of the loaf while baking?
If you toss the raisins in a little flour before incorporating them into the dough, that will help.
We plump our raisins by soaking them in hot water for 5 minutes. Drain and mix with dry ingredients.
Not a fan of this recipe. It was very bland and not sweet enough. I followed the recipe to the T . I could cut it but it would fall apart when trying to butter it or pick it up
Hi Patti, I’m so sorry you didn’t like the recipe! For the record, Irish soda bread is not supposed to be sweet. It is also very muffin or scone-like in terms of the crumb. Best to let it cool all the way, then cut thick slices with a bread knife, or cut out wedges.
I love the baked version & the sautéed cabbage more every year! Adding the soda bread to the meal this year. Thanks!
Made this tonight as my first attempt at Irish soda bread. It was delicious. I followed the recipe exactly, it was easy to follow and everyone loved. No worries about it getting stale because it’s all gone lol. Thank you for this recipe!
I’m so glad you liked it Sue!
Can I bake bread 2 days ahead?
Hi Alice, no, it will become too hard that way. You should eat it right after you make it.
i have a bag of Odlums irish soda bread mix/flour-can i use 4 1/2 cups of THIS and follow your recipe -adding the buttermilk and egg???
probably be best to follow the instructions on the box, they probably pre-make these things with specific ingredients, like dehydrated eggs, etc.
Pizza cutter! Great idea!
Instead of currants or raisins, could you also use chocolate chips?
Hi Payton, I guess so. It’s not really a sweet bread. But if you like chocolate with regular bread, then go for it!
I am going to make this for a class at school and nobody likes raisins or currants in that class, so I was wondering if I could use chocolate chips as a substitute
I use dried cranberries
I’ve just found you blog and it’s amasing! Recipies are so simple and yummy at the same time. Can’t wait to try them all! I feel I’ll be a great fan of your bread recipies : ) What additions do you use besides currants and raisins? Maybe some herb or spices?
Hi Nadia, caraway seeds would be traditional in soda bread. See http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/caraway_soda_bread/
Made the bread a few days before St, Patrick’s Day. Did not last until that day, I ate most of it. I did not have buttermilk, so I add some sour milk I had. I also add a cup of spent barley flour that came from a local brewery. The bread was heavy and very “wholesome”. Next time I am going to add buttermilk to see if there is a difference.
I just baked the bread and it looks wonderful, but I do want to confirm that your recipe calls for only 1 TBSP sugar?
Yes, only 1 tablespoon.
Recipe is a keeper! Thanks! Loved baking it in a cast iron pan too.
I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times, but I LOVE your recipes. Thanks so much. I like this iteration of soda bread but I have to admit that I’m partial to the oatmeal soda bread you have on your site. Both versions are delicious.
Not a week goes by that I don’t make something from your blog. And it always works! :) Thanks.
Made this today and it taste so good! Thank you for sharing the recipe! Will definitely make this again this upcoming christmas. :)
I’m so glad you like it Janelle!
My husband says from now on, this will be our family’s fave.. :)
Tried this recipe but I had to bake it for almost twice as long to get the middle done, and as such, the edges were overdone. Next time I won’t just let it “flatten out a bit” in the oven and flatten it myself a bit first.
Do you weigh your flour? If so, how many ounces in each cup of flour do you use? One flour website uses 4.25 oz/cup for white flour. while one cooking show rounds white flour up to 5 oz per cup.
Just wondering what your standard is because I want my baked goods to come out as good as yours.
Hi Violet, this recipe isn’t that precise. Some flours have more gluten than others, some “large” eggs are larger than others. You kind of have to go on feel for this one. Just measure the flour *without* packing it down in the cup, and add more flour as needed.
I don’t have buttermilk but do have yogurt and kefir (home made), could I use either of these instead?
I always substitute yogurt and skim milk (never have buttermilk around and don’t want to waste what isn’t used for this recipe).
Comes out delicious.
I have never used an egg though either.
Just flour (mix of whole wheat and white), cold butter, yogurt, milk, salt and baking soda.
Use T lemon to one cup milk let stand till creamy consistency.
I made your recipe this morning for breakfast…my son could not stop eating it!!! It came out so good! Thank you!!
I am just a simple 13 year old girl living on a farm with my family. My mom makes irish soda bread a lot when we have soup for dinner, and wanting to make some myself, I looked up some recipes. Yours is the best recipe I have found! Thanks!
I don’t use sugar or dried fruit.
Blackstrap molasses, one egg, half stick of unsalted butter, plain yogurt and buttermilk are my “wet” ingredients. I also soak a cupful of oatmeal in buttermilk overnight to add to the wet ingredients. For dry ingredients i use baking soda, baking powder, sea salt. whole wheat flour, toasted wheat germ, flax seeds and sunflower seeds. Mix the dry with the butter and work through with fingers until all butter is absorbed., add wet ingredients (pre mixed in a jug) The dough should be sticky and wet; use spatula to bind.
Turn out to a floured baking tray and shape round. Use a pasta or pizza roller knife to cut deep cross groves in the loaf. Use a very hot oven. I heat mine to 450 degrees and cook for 10 minutes at 450, then turn down to 400 for 45 minutes.j The dough should be sticky and wet when you put it in the oven. The loaf should sound hollow on the base when you knock on it on taking it out.
I’ve never had any complaints, and more compliments than you could imagine.
I make this exact recipe for some of my clients, though I thought it was from epicurious…oh well. it is SOOOOO delicious straight out of the oven with salted Irish butter. I use currants instead, which i like b/c they are smaller and then disperse more. I wish i wasn’t gluten intolerant or i would eat it everyday!!!
Super easy to make. Took it to a party. It was hit. “who made the soda bread? It’s delicious”
This site may interest you. Sodabread.info It says it is dedicated to the “preservation of traditional Irish soda bread.” I guess my recipe is more of a cake to which I add sugar,dries cranberries, a bit more buttermilk for extra moisture, and this year even sliced almonds. I do use is as more of a desert. :) I am looking foward to trying the traditional bread recipe though.
Just made it and love it. I can’t have gluten, so I simply subbed in the new cup 4 cup gluten free flour of Thomas Keller instead of regular flour. I used slightly more dried fruits and it was a combo of currants, raisins, and cherry Craisins. I have to be careful not to eat the whole loaf! I was skeptical because the dough is surely sticky and was all over my hands, but I wanted to be very careful not to overwork it. I cooked it in cast iron and maybe should have taken out a bit sooner, but the crust and top are not burned and the inside is cooked through. This is a great source for recipes. Thanks so much. My Irish eyes are smiling!
I see a comment from Kathleen Hallgren about making this at altitude. For St. Paddy’s last year, I made your Soda Bread Biscuits–filed here under Bakery. I’m in Denver, and the result was fantastic; all I did was follow your recipe as written. Big difference is the muffin-type bits, rather than bread-type, big blob. Plus, baking time is cut by 2/3!
This is a delicious soda bread. I however add another full stick of butter to mine to make it more moist. I have had several people request I make it for them and many compliments. I have been told that it isn’t as dry as a desert like most soda breads. Ok it maybe a little more fattening, but it sure tastes good.
Or, you can get a pint of whipping cream and a large canning jar, shake it for a while and not only will you get fresh butter, but buttermilk as well. Then you can make your bread and eat it with your homemade butter and feel really fancy. Just saying.
Yum! We tried this recipe and it was yummy! Thanks!
Well, I wonder what went wrong….I tried this recipe TWICE tonight, and both times it came out the same: outside hard, inside still sticky and dough-y. Baked for 45 minutes.
Does any one have a good recipie for irish soda bread that works at high altitude? I’ve tried several and they come out dry flat and just terrible. thanks for anyones input. carole
While it looks tasty this is definately NOT Irish Soda Bread. My very irish “Granny Clarke” taught me her soda bread recipe a few years ago.
5 cups SR flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp bi carb soda
1 1/2cups buttermilk
Sift dry ingredients together and gradually add buttermilk until you have a pliable mixture. Divide into two parts and knead well adding flour if needed to keep it from becoming sticky. Roll into a round about 1 inch thick. Cut into quaters (called faels). Sprinkle flour into a hot fry pan or griddle and cook faels allowing them to rise before turning them over. Repeat with second part of mixture. Clean the flour from the frying pan and add fresh flour before cooking the second part.
It can be eaten as savoury or sweet but best on day it’s made.
this recipe was easy to make, but I was careful not to handle it too much and also I watched the baking time as not to over bake. It was 40 minutes. The bread was so moist and had a lot of flaver. This will be my soda bread recipe from now on.
Really, really great bread. Gigantic, and I may have eaten a quarter of it myself tonight. Ooops! Mine was definitely shaggy–on the outside and a little bit in the inside too, but oh so delicious! Thanks for a great recipe!
I realize this is an old thread, but hopefully someone can answer. Can I use coconut milk yogurt instead of the dairy products? I can’t have dairy or yeast and I’m hoping this will work so I can have some sort of bread type product again.
I had a lot of fun baking Irish soda bread while listening to Irish music on St. Patrick’s Day this year, and it was so good I think I made about three more in the weeks after the holiday. I had some trouble determining the optimal baking time (the first time I undercooked it and the second time I burnt it), but it still tasted great. I guess I will have to keep practicing by baking more of them!
I made this tonight, and my wife and I sampled a slice just now. It came out great, very chewy and delicious! Thanks so much for sharing this recipe!
I just made this bread and to tell you the truth, it is not one of my favorites…1 tsp soda is not enough for 4-4-1/2 cups flour, I made many Irish soda bread and this by far was my least favorite. Too dense and not enough flavor…sorry…..
In this recipe, I decided to subsitute cranraisins for raisins, and then I decided to sprinkle a little sugar on top for a little sweetness.
I made this the other afternoon. My dough was super sticky and didn’t form into a ball. I did end up adding about 1/2 cup of flour more. But it baked up well and tasted great!
I’ve been making Irish Soda Bread with my very Irish mother and uncle since I was about 4. This recipe looks great! I’ve recently moved to Colorado, and was looking forward to making this bread for friends this weekend. Do you have nay suggestions for baking at altitude? I’m at almost 5,000 feet.
Hi Kathleen, as a near-sea-level dweller, I’m afraid I haven’t the faintest idea how to adjust recipes to cook at high altitudes. You might want to do a little searching online for “high altitude baking” and see what you find. ~Elise
Great site–even though I was not looking for anything regarding soda bread. As it happens I decided to read the recipe and some comments. I am first generation off the boat(ok, plane) and my grandmother and mother taught me how to make the bread 20 years ago when I was in college. They both grew up 2 miles from the Odlums flour factory and so knew a bit about soda bread. This recipe here is very traditional for the “cake” and raisin variety. Take away the sugar and raisins and you move towards brown bread. I say “towards” because for the best you can get in America you need the Wholemeal flour. Impossible to get here–expensive to order from Odlums–except that now King Arthur sells 3 lb bags of their own wholemeal flour. It is VERY close in all aspects. It tastes nutty and is very course. If you are not used to it then make it with 3 cups wholemeal and one cup white. Order a couple of bags(5 bucks each) as the shipping cost is the same for 1 or 5 bags. When you use that to cook then you may develop a slight Irish accent. Also, if you like a rounder loaf then poke fork holes down in about 6 or 8 places on the top of the loaf. the wet loaf just before it goes in the oven. That is the way my nana did it. After it is done then cool for 15 minutes on a rack and place the bread a in a tea towel. Slightly dampen the tea towel–just a few drops all around–if the bottom of the bread is too hard. That will moisten it and make the cutting easier the next day. You need a proper bread knife to cut this bread and if the outside is too crmbly then the tea towel trick usually works. Serve toasted with butter and be thankful for jam. That was a once per month treat for my relatives and I try to remember that to this day. Enjoy!
I made this recipe this afternoon while I was watching football and cooking a corned beef, cabbage and potatoe dinner. It’s the first time I’ve ever tried to make a bread other than Pillsbury Grands. Your instructions were right on the money and the bread is just great. My daughter loves short bread so I’ll make her some next time I visit her.
Thank you for a really tasty addition to my mundane suppers
AWESOME recipe. I made the soda bread last night for community dinner. I contemplated calling you for some advice, but somehow I pulled it all off and everyone loved it!
So glad you liked it Cat! ~Elise
I made this bread tonight and it is delicious. My dough was also very sticky, but that was to be expected from what Elise said in the recipe and all the other comments. I baked it in a Le Creuset 9-inch cast iron skillet and it came out perfect. I agree with Lester that it does not need much kneading, and that mixing and dumping into the skillet is a very good idea, then smoothing over the top and slashing a criss-cross. I ended up adding another 1/2 cup flour, no more, so total of 4-1/2. A great recipe. I’m having a slice now with a “cuppa”. Will toast it for breakfast in the morning. Thanks, Elise!
I have a suggestion that might be of help to your readers with complaints about the stickiness of the dough: Rake the dough into a covered cast-iron Dutch oven, and bake it without ever touching it.
I have baked at least 100 loaves of traditional four-ingredient Irish soda bread. After experimenting which no-knead yeast bread (which is baked in a covered Dutch oven), I discovered that I could only consistently make great Irish soda bread, if I baked it the same way.
Regarding size, I use a two-quart Dutch oven for three-cup recipes, and a three-quart Dutch oven (actually a chicken fryer) for 4.5-cup recipes. If you match the size of the pot to your loaf, then no kneading or shaping of the dough is necessary. Note: Evidence suggests that the Irish traditionally baked soda bread either in a covered cast-iron pot (for loaves) or on an iron griddle (for farl). Try it!
Great idea Lester, thank you! ~Elise
I remember when this recipe first came on to your site. I have been making it ever since and have enjoyed it every time I did. The other day I chopped up some dried apricots I had and added them in with the raisens. This came out great and makes another variation that some of your readers may enjoy.
Thanks for the great recipes,
I just attempted your Irish Soda bread recipe and it ended up in the trash. I found that it was impossible to form into a ball, let alone knead due to the gummy consistency. I tried adding more flour as suggested, but after adding approximately another whole cup of flour (in small increments) it still was impossible. I need to mention that I did not add caraway or raisins to the dough, if that would make a difference. What went wrong? I am positive that I used the exact measurements in the recipe. Cathy
This was an amazing recipe! It lasted less than a day in my house. Without a doubt, I will be making this again and again.
Elise, I really think this recipe requires at least 5 cups of flour.This dough was very, very sticky, and very difficult to handle.I also think it could use 1 1/2 tsp salt, and slightly more sugar.I found it to have a strong buttermilk flavor,(which I like) and my loaf came out quite moist, and a bit dense (as it should be) Overall a nice simple recipe, just needs more flour…
I just made this again and used 4 1/4 cups of flour, measuring the cups out so that the flour was lightly scooped into the cups and then leveled. That and I floured my hands and dusted the kneading area with flour. So, I am pretty confident that no more flour should be needed than what is called for in the recipe. The dough will be sticky, and shaggy. One does not knead it the way one would knead a yeast dough, but just enough to bring it together. That said, there are other variables, not the least of which is the brand of flour, or even the humidity. So you may need to make adjustments to suit your taste and ingredients. ~Elise
I made this recipe yesterday and had the same issues as some of the others have had with the dough being too sticky. I too added more flour, at least a cup, managed to get it into a ball and cooked it at 425 on a cast iron skillet for 55 minutes. After 55 minutes it was not fully cooked, so I tented it with foil and placed it back into the oven for an additional 35 minutes.
In the end I felt the bottom was over cooked (meaning a very hard crust making it difficult to slice through with a bread knife and the texture of the bread itself was more dense than I was expecting.
Although it tasted and smelled fantastic I was expecting it to be more light in texture.
Would it have helped to add less buttermilk and more baking soda in this case?
And how would have using 1 tsp. of baking powder made a difference or not?
I am a novice baker and determined to get it right- your advice would be most helpful.
Hi Jenna, I just made this bread again yesterday and I think I know the problem. You should not have had to add a whole additional cup of flour. My guess is this, along with overkneading, and overcooking, caused the bread to be rather dense with a hard bottom. The dough should have a rather sticky and barely held together shaggy feel and appearance, much like you were making a shortbread biscuit. You should handle it only enough to have it come together. The more you handle the dough, the more tough the result will be. It should flatten out a bit when you put it in the cast iron pan. When you remove the bread from the oven, let it sit in the cast iron pan for 5-10 minutes or so before removing it to a rack. ~Elise
My Irish Nana used to make this exact bread almost everyday.
The recipe is perfect…and just delicious.
My Mum went back a few years ago and brought an Irish Bread recipe book this exact recipe is in it and I was soooo excited as she passed away in 84 and it brought back so many wonderful memories.
It was the exact same…
Made this bread the other day and it was fantastic. I love cast iron cooking and this was the perfect recipe for one. Thanks.
I am not much of a cook, but these directions were easy to follow, and the pictures really helped. The bread has been cooling for about 10 minutes and I just had a slice; it is absolutely delicious. Thanks!
Would I be able to substitute the raisins for chocolate chips?
Why not? I would say go for it. ~Elise
My grandmother’s maiden name was Fitzgerald, and we don’t have to go too far back to find the ancestors that came over to America. I have also been to Ireland and had “real” Irish soda bread. My grandmother makes both this and the brown kind (using a mix of wheat and white flour), and the general conclusion is that the brown is better. The places where I had Irish bread in Ireland were in small towns with family-owned restaurants. They also served the brown kind. Each one was a little different, but none were white with raisins in them.
As others have said, if you’re having trouble with the dough sticking or too soupy, you have to adjust for your humidity (and sometimes elevation). In Arizona, we can almost always use the quoted amount of buttermilk because it’s so dry outside. When it’s more humid, use less. It might take a few tries, but if you’re a good cook, you can tell by the feel if it’s a little too much or too little, and add by feel. If you end up with too much buttermilk, add a little more flour.
I made this recipe today and end up using 4-1/2 cups 100% white whole-wheat flour. I baked it on a lightly greased cast iron skillet. It turned out perfect. I prefer the Irish Soda Bread sweeter so the next time, I will add 1/2 cup sugar instead of 2 tablespoons. Thanks for posting this recipe.
I usually use a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar and enough milk to make a cup (whole would be best, but other kinds will work), let that sit for at least five minutes, that usually works pretty well for me. It’s good with dried cranberries too.
I can’t believe that from start to finish this took a mere 40 minutes! It is incredibly moist and has a crunchy crust. I substituted dried cranberries, which were nice and tart. I loved eating this bread with chestnut honey and butter. I also loved it topped with fig spread and aged gruyere cheese. Thanks for a great foolproof recipe!
Thank you so much for this neat recipe. I love Raisin Bread but it costs me to much in the store so I decided to try this recipe. I have never made bread before in my life, other than bisquits, so I was amazed how easy it was. The Bread came out absolutely perfect. I have since then stocked up on Buttermilk and raisins and I make it every week.
Great recipe, quick, easy, and delicious.
I broke the dough into two balls and baked on a cookie sheet. This worked out perfectly! They also made great gifts for St. Patrick’s Day! Great recipe! Thanks! Jenny
Making this bread right now & the dough was very sticky. I added ½ cup more flour but it was still impossible to handle. Had no way to form it into a ball so I dumped it into a traditional bread pan; someone else mentioned increasing the salt & soda as an addition to adding more flour, but I’m not that advanced as a baker to know how much or when. I’ve lowered the baking temperature & will bake it for longer to make sure it is evenly done. I hope it turns out well because it’s taken longer to make than I expected & been a lot more stressful. 30 minutes to go before I check the oven … wish me luck!
I made this bread tonight with my beef stew. I removed the raisins, and added a tablespoon of crushed dried rosemary. Cooked it as directed and it came out perfect!
Made this for my 86 yr old aunt who’s very particular, & thumbs-up from her! PS Had to add more flour, as well.
Made this recipe this morning and my fiancé absolutely loved it — just like he remembers having for breakfast growing up. And so easy to bake! Won’t have to worry about it drying out as it is getting eaten so fast. Thanks for this keeper of a recipe.
I made Irish soda bread as a senior in high school for my English class. Reading your recipe and blog brought back memories.
As I have said before what one the best reasons to read your blog is the easy to use recipes.
Please forgive us all for tweeking your recipes okay.
Linda in Washington State
P.S. Its resurrection pecan meringue cookie time!
Hi Linda, indeed it is time for that cookie. I’ll have to pull it forward. I think it is absolutely marvelous that people tweek the recipes and make them their own. That’s what I do! In fact, I’m constantly editing the recipes on this site. The more I make them, the more I try to perfect them. Recipes are just guidelines anyway. Best to start with them and then explore from them. :-) ~Elise
Yum! Happy Saint Patrick’s Day one day late – I just tried Irish Soda Bread for the first time (no raisins, though, thank you!) on Sunday, and it was a huge success! My ingredients were pretty different though – whole wheat flour with the all-purpose flour, and much less sugar. It was very easy and quite tasty!
While your recipe looks good – our favorite is quite a bit different. The texture and ‘bite’ is so light! I always put in the caraway seeds and alternate between currents and raisins. The batch that I made this weekend was with the golden raisins and they were WONDERFUL!
Note – we bake ours in muffin tins.
Irish Rosie’s Irish Soda Bread by 1Steve posted on Feb 25, 2002 via Recipezaar.com
3 1/2 c flour
1/2 c sugar
1/2 t baking soda
2 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 pint sour cream
2 T caraway seeds
3/4 c raisins
1. Combine dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
2. In a small bowl beat eggs and stir in sour cream.
3. Add the egg and sour cream mixture to the dry ingredients and
stir with a wooden spoon.
4. Batter will be very thick.
5. Add the raisins and caraway seeds and stir well with wooden
spoon or knead in with your hands.
6. Place batter in a greased 9 inch springform pan (or muffin tins).
7. Dust the top with enough flour so that you can pat the batter
like a bread dough evenly in the pan without it sticking to your
8. With a knife make a shallow crisscross on the top.
9. Bake for 50 minutes in a preheated 350ºF oven (Or approximately 15-18 minutes if baked in muffin tins).
Made this for St. Patrick’s day–I thought I followed the measurements well, but the dough was really wet and sticky! I must have added almost another whole cup of flour trying to work with it before it was able to hold a shape. It also took about a half-hour longer in the oven before a knife came out clean.
Hi Jeanine – so many things can affect the mixture, how you measure a cup of flour, the particular flour you are using, the weather (if it’s a humid day), etc. Based on your input and those of others, I’ve adjusted the recipe to indicate upfront that you may need more than 4 cups of flour. The timing too, depends a lot on the shape of the bread, how thick it is, and your particular oven. ~Elise
Comment to kris use 1 part milk and 1 part sourcream (1 cup of each)
This was the easiest recipe for bread I have ever made. I stirred it up while I was cooking breakfast and it baked while I ate and got dressed.
Every one really liked it. I will use raisins next time. Thanks a lot.
Happy St Patrick’s Day!
All my friends are being boring and won’t go out to get drunk, so I’m staying in and looking for recipes.
This is very different to the soda bread we have here in Ireland. When I was much younger, I think around 8, we made soda bread in school once. It was basically just 2 cups of flour, 1 cup of buttermilk 1tsp baking soda and 1tsp salt (so basic I still remember it). The whole thing was mixed together (BY HAND) and rolled into a flat circle. The circle is then qartered. Each quarter is what is known here as a farl. We cooked them on plates which are kind of like skillets, but were completely flat. I can’t remember what they were actually called. Then at the end each farl was wrapped in what we call a tea towel for a few minutes (that cloth you dry your dishes with). It makes them taste better. Finally they’re dusted lightly with more flour.
Farls are rarely (if ever) eaten “whole” or raw. They’re generally always cut into two slices and then toasted. Soda farls are great with a proper Irish fry, lots of bacon, sausages, eggs (yuck), baked beans, grilled tomato and white pudding.
Irish Soda Bread is just not Irish Soda Bread without caraway seeds. Otherwise your bread will be missing that certain flavor that really makes it taste authentic.
Hey yas! I am currently making this bread and…..I think this recipe calls for too much milk. My dough was so soupy. I ended up adding more flour, sugar and soda. Other recipes I’ve found only call for 1 cup of milk. Other than that, I am hoping the bread turns out good.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone!!!!!
This looks great — and a little lighter than many quickbread recipes, I think! I’m intrigued by the idea of baking the bread in a skillet — is it to help with the shape, or does it have an impact on the flavor?
Hi Katy, I think not only is it easy, but also that the cast iron help moderate the heat in the oven for more even heating. I have some old cast iron muffin pans which make beautiful muffins for the same reason. ~Elise
I made this last night with cranberries and it was AWESOME. Thanks!
After tasting a friend’s Irish Soda Bread the other day, which was pretty good, I was determined to come up with a recipe that didn’t taste like “wallboard with raisins” (comment from an another food blog which reflected my own feelings about this dense little bread perfectly). A brief web search turned up a recipe from Brother Rick Curry that was published in The Secrets of Jesuit Breadmaking. It uncharacteristically included 8 Tbs. of butter (recipe made (2) 9 x 5 loaves–5 cups flour) along with the usual buttermilk, baking soda, etc. I mascerated the raisins (and a few dried cranberries) in Irish whiskey (why not?), cut back on the 3 Tbs. caraway seeds (we don’t like them all that much) and voila! tender,tasty, loaves of Irish Soda Bread at last. After many years of not liking it, I’ve discovered as noted in Elise’s recipe and comments from others, that it’s a very adaptable recipe. Have fun with it and enjoy the results!
Dear me, Elise, you’ve done it again! LOVE it!!
After the success of your Shrimp beurre d’orange and your wild mushroom soup, I have a request:
Elise, please teach me how to make tabouleh! I will only trust it if it’s from you! :D
– your biggest fan.
I do so love this scone-like soda bread. This year, however, I’ve procured some traditional wholemeal flour from an Irish foods website and am thrilled with the results. I cut the traditional cross, dusted it with a shake of wholemeal flour and used a peel to slide it onto my pizza stone. It has an rich, authentic flavor that would be impossible to achieve with American flour.
I was very careful to follow the instructions for soda bread from your website. The dough was so sticky that I had to add a lot of flour – possibly 1/2 cup. I cooked it 35 minutes and it looked done. The bottom sounded hollow, and the top was lightly brown. I stuck a skewer in it, and it tested done. I let it cool, but when I cut into it, it was uncooked in the middle. What do you suppose I did wrong? Any suggestions? Jan
Hi Jan, every oven is different, so for yours it may just take a little longer to cook it through. ~Elise
Last St. Patty’s Day I made this, although I didn’t have any raisins, so I used dried cherries instead, and it was FABULOUS. I highly suggest it.
I had to make this for a heritage project because I am Irish. I shared it with my classmates & everyone loved it!! I have never had soda bread before and I though it was wonderful.
regarding Irish soda bread, the true recipe calls only for baking soda,buttermilk, a tiny amount of sugar and flour,no eggs nor butter, soda farls(quarters of the dough) are made on a griddle and soda bread (known as bannock) is baked in the oven. Adding two tablespoons of treacle(dark molasses)and less buttermilk to this recipe gives a delicious flavour. Anyone who lives near a costco store will find Odlums ready mix flours for all kinds of Irish bread. My friends in NJ and Utah have become Irish bread makers using this product. Using wholemeal flour gives you Irish wheaten bread. Here in Northern Ireland we use soda bread for the ulster breakfast of bacon,sausage,egg,potato bread and soda bread.
Thank you for this recipe. I saw an Irish Soda Bread on a old Julia Child show, and I have been unable to find a recipe that just uses baking soda until now. I do have one quick question. Can you substitute 4 cups of flour with, 4 cups whole wheat flour?
Traditional Irish brown soda bread is made with whole-meal four. I have no idea if the substitution would work with this recipe, you might try looking for another recipe online for “brown soda bread”. ~Elise
Well, I am not a “cook” or “chef” by any means. My Nana, Celia Shea made the BEST Irish Bread around ever! No caraway seeds allowed. After several attempts through the years, I have tried to make the very same delicious bread. I think I succeeded once, but that was probably beginners luck. Now, in my late 20’s I have finally found a website that actually tells me (with wonderful pictures and instructions) how to make my Nana’s Irish Bread. I just made it..and it is great..THANKS!
I made the soda bread last night with my husband’s help. The dough was pretty wet and sticky and required some extra flour. We substituted raisins with chocolate chips and it turned out great. My husband said he will eat it for lunch and dinner tomorrow so he can finish it before it gets dry. Thanks for the great receipe.
I made this recipe on Saturday, St. Patrick’s day. I had great trust, as I usually don’t try new recipes for company! It was the best soda bread I’ve ever made. It had just the right amount of tender and chew, and reminded me of childhood bread from the bakery. The only difference (and I think this is because it was fresh from the oven) is that the crust was too crisp for my memory. But overall, crisp crust I think is better! The dough was very sticky and hard to slash, so I did get a big crack. I also added a handful (about a tablespoon?) of caraway seeds. Yum!
Based on your and other comments, I’ve adjusted the recipe to say, do a skewer insertion test, as if you were baking a cake. Regarding convection. Typically when you use a convection oven, or the convection setting of an oven, you need to lower the temperature by about 25 degrees, and decrease the cooking time by a fifth.
If you notice that the bread is already nicely browned, halfway through the cooking, tent the bread with some aluminum foil. That will deflect the hottest heat from the top, keeping it from burning.
I tried this recipie and took it to a corned beef and cabbage dinner Saturday night. Everyone loved it. However, it didn’t get cooked in the center…it was still raw dough in there, but the outside was dark brown. I used a convection oven and I think that may have been the problem. Any suggestions?
BTW, I make two loaves, one with raisins and one with caraway. I loved ’em both!
I just finished Sunday dinner. We did St. Patrick’s Day a day late as we were in Mexico the day of. The soda bread was a big hit! But as was previously mentioned, we did have to go long on the cooking time. It looked done at 35 minutes but needed about 8 minutes more so that the center of the thickest part wasn’t doughy.
Your soda bread looks absolutely gorgeous. I love that you cooked it in a skillet. Thanks so much for the link. :-) I appreciate it. Luckily, soda bread translates easily to gluten-free.
I just made this soda bread and the dough was really sticky. Is that expected? I had to bake it longer than suggested, but it was a big success with its audience. In fact, I had to snatch half of it away from him (for the freezer for another day) just to save him from himself.
Yes, the dough will be rather sticky and shaggy. ~Elise
This was a wonderful addition to our big Irish breakfast this morning. We substituted currants for the raisins, and added a bit of orange zest. Not quite traditional Irish, but delicious, for sure.
I’ve tried many of your recipes, Elise, and they have all been well received by my family. Now, when we’re looking for something special, my two sons suggest an internet stop at Simply Recipes.
Hey Elise, What are your thoughts on Pasteurized eggs?
I bought some last week because I mistakenly thought the Eggsland Best I had been buying used antibiotics (I was wrong, they in fact do not use antibiotics). Well last week using these new eggs, I made coconut macaroon (no flour) and then just my favorite package of brownie mix (White Lily Chewy Fudge) and both recipes fell flat in texture, height and flavor. What is your experience? Thanks.
Hi Robin – I personally have no thoughts on pasteurized eggs because I have never used them. Don’t know why you would use them in a recipe in which the eggs get cooked. The cooking kills any of the bacteria and sort of defeats the purpose of using pasteurized eggs. I do know people who use them as substitutes for regular eggs in dishes in which the eggs are not cooked, but I don’t know how well they work. ~Elise
From my one and only trip to Ireland aeons ago, I remember the soda bread too…mostly served with brilliant chowders/fish soups… lots of salmon and trout in those soups if I recall… as the mornings start to get crisper here in Australia, I may just have to think about a good chowder recipe to go with your soda bread………
I got this from http://www.ochef.com
To make pretend buttermilk, add 1-3/4 tablespoons of cream of tartar to a cup of milk, or add a tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar to a cup of milk and let it stand for 5 to 10 minutes. In many baking recipes, you can also just use plain yogurt or sour cream instead of buttermilk.
We made Irish food this month for a party and I was surprised at how good and easy it all was. The bread was delicious and we made it plain without raisins or carraway. So simple to no rising and virtually no kneading.
If your store doesn’t sell fresh buttermilk, you can buy buttermilk powder. It may be in the baking aisle, or you can buy it online.
Whenever I have a recipe that calls for buttermilk, I substitute the same amount of regular milk but with vinegar or lemon juice added (roughly 1 tablespoon of per cup of milk, I think). Let that mixture sit on the counter for a few minutes until it starts to get a bit lumpy on top, then it’s ready to use.
My 100% Irish wife will tell you that this is certainly not Irish Soda Bread. However, this is pretty close to what she makes and calls soda bread. She has no problem with the fact that it is not traditional. However, when she makes it for her off-the-boat irish, they all ask her for her “cake”.
By definition, this recipe is cake, hence the sugar and eggs. However, once you move past that fact, people LOVE this stuff.
Traditional soda bread looks terrible to me!
Kris, if I don’t have buttermilk I use an old trick my mother taught me: add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to a cup of milk and let it sit for a few minutes. Instant buttermilk! It works great in recipes.
And because I can’t usually use a carton of butttermilk before it goes bad, I found a dry, cultured buttermilk powder in the baking aisle of the grocery store that can be added to recipes. The brand name is SaCo, and it’s one of those things that’s usually on the bottom shelves.
Because of the sugar, eggs and raisins this is more of a cake than a soda bread. My granda used to make simply a bread and it was something they made almost daily for meal, not sweet at all – flour, salt, soda, sour milk.
I agree. I am Irish and helped my Gran make soda bread all the time when I was younger. Its a very simple bread we have with dinner or we have it with jam and butter with tea. It is a savory bread and there are NO raisins. Any bread type food with fruit in it is really considered a cake or dessert back home. Although no longer eaten daily my many it is still very prominent at the super markets and bakeries.
First, let me say that I love your blog.
I would love to try this bread, but where I live buttermilk is quite hard to find. any suggestions for a good substitute? I don’t like substituting ingredients but in cases like this, I have no choice.
Thanks a lot!
how to make homemade buttermilk
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