Recipe: Irish Soda Bread


Tonight, in honour of St. Paddy's Day, I've made my favourite Irish Soda Bread.  I'll be serving it alongside the super flavourful Italian Beef Stew we talked about earlier today.  This is so full of that trademark Irish simplicity it's a wonder I don't make some at least every weekend.  Note to self: make more Irish Soda Bread.

What you'll need:

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
2 cups all purpose flour
5 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons butter, chilled, cut into cubes
1 cup buttermilk


1.  Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

2.  Spray whatever pan you are using...cast iron frying pans, oblong casserole dishes and 8 inch cake pans all work quite nicely.

2.  Whisk flour, 4 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in large bowl to blend.

3.  Add butter.

4.  Use your floured hands to incorporate the butter into your dry ingredients until a sort of "mealy" texture is formed.

5.  Make a well in the centre of your mixture and add the buttermilk.

Did you know that despite its name all buttermilk is low fat?  It's true!  Buttermilk is always 1%.  Nice to know, isn't it?  Buying a whole carton of the stuff might seem like a bit of a commitment considering you only need a cup for this recipe, but you would be amazed at all the uses buttermilk has.  For starters, I'd suggest using it to make your own low fat ranch salad dressing or to marinate chicken.

6.  Gradually stir the dry ingredients into the buttermilk to blend.

7.  With floured hands, shape dough into ball and place in your prepared pan.  Flatten the dough slightly (note that it will not spread to the edge of the pan).

8.  I like to mark the bread with an "X" and then sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar over it.

9.  Bake until brown and when a toothpick (or other tester) inserted into the centre comes out clean.  This usually takes about 40 minutes.

10.  I like to then pop it under the broiler on high for 1 or 2 minutes just to give the sugar a bit of a "brûlée".  If you're going to do this, you really need to keep an eye on it, or risk burning the whole thing.

11.  Cool bread in pan for 10 minutes, transfer to cooling rack.

12.  Serve warm, or at room temperature, with butter (of course!)


It's quite common for Irish Soda Bread to be made with currants or raisins.  If I was making this for a crowd, or for a brunch, I might consider making two loaves, one with and one without.  For heaven's sake though, if you're going to add raisins make sure that you soak them in whiskey first.  It's the right thing to do and you know it is.


There is very little as satisfying as making your own bread, even when it's cheating because it's the lazy-Irishman's recipe.  I loooove this warm with butter and alongside a hearty stew.  It's also great for elevensies, brunch or tea (in the place of scones) and served with jam.  

Erin Go Bragh!


  1. "With floured hands, shape dough into ball and place in your prepared pan." The best feeling!

    "This is so full of that trademark Irish simplicity..." May I use this line the next time Garry makes fun of the Irish and seasoning?

    Gotta try this soon.

  2. Anonymous9:50 PM

    Could we get a courier to bring me one now! YUMMY!

  3. A)That looks sooooo good!
    B)I was going to make whole wheat Irish soda bread last weekend (even bought a loaf pan), but lost my motivation. You can bet I'm making it now!


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