Traditional Irish Soda Bread

As an Irish woman, I feel it my duty to include here a recipe for a traditional soda bread. I have been making this bread for many years and it couldn’t be easier to make.


450g (1lb) Plain Flour
1 level teasp Caster Sugar
1 level teasp Bicarbonate of Soda (Bread Soda)
1 level teasp Salt
350-425ml (12-15fl oz) Buttermilk


  1. Preheat the oven to 230°C (425°F), Gas mark 8
  2. Sift all of the dry ingredients into a bowl and make a well in the centre
  3. Pour approx 350ml (12fl oz) of buttermilk into the bowl.  Mix with either your hand or a wooden spoon (as I like to do as I can’t stand the mixture getting under my nails!) until all the mixture comes together adding a little more buttermilk if necessary.  The mixture should be soft but not too wet and sticky.
  4. Turn onto a floured board and bring together to form a ball.  Do not knead the dough or it will leave you with a heavy bread.  Place the bread onto a flour dusted baking sheet and flatten to 4cm (1½in) approx in height.  Cut a deep cross into the dough not quite cutting through to the baking sheet.
  5. Place in the preheated oven for 15mins.  Then turn the heat down to 200°C (400°F), Gas Mark 6 and cook for a further 30 minutes.  When cooked, the bread will be a beautiful golden colour all over and the bottom should sound hollow if you tap it.  Allow to cool on a wire rack

Other Variations:

Fruit Soda
Add in 75g (3oz) of sultanas to the dry mix before adding the buttermilk

Add in 75g (3oz) of plain chocolate drops to the dry mix before adding the buttermilk

Rosemary & Cranberry
Stir in 4oz (100g) dried cranberries and the Rosemary stripped from 4 sprigs into the dry mix before adding the buttermilk

Cheesy Soda Bread (A big hit in our house)
Stir in 3oz (75g) of grated mature cheddar cheese into the dry mix and sprinkle a further 2oz (50g) over the top of the bread just before putting it into the oven.  I would say if you really like cheese then you could even increase these quantities!!

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