White Soda Bread

3.5/4 fork user rating

reviews (48)


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Here's the traditional Irish soda bread—just flour, baking soda, salt, buttermilk, and optional caraway seeds. For traditional brown soda bread, substitute whole-wheat flour for part, or all, of the all-purpose flour called for in the recipe.

Serves 8


    • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    • 2 tablespoons caraway seeds (optional)
    • 1 teaspoon baking-soda
    • 3/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 1/2 cups (about) buttermilk


    1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Lightly flour baking sheet. Mix flour, caraway seeds, if using, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Mix in enough buttermilk to form moist clumps. Gather dough into ball. Turn out onto lightly flour surfaced and knead just until dough holds together, about 1 minute. Shape dough into 6-inch-diameter by 2-inch-high round. Place on prepared baking sheet. Cut 1-inch-deep X across top of bread, extending almost to edges. Bake until bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on bottom, about 35 minutes. Transfer bread to rack and cool completely.

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Nutritional Info

  • Calories217
  • Carbohydrates44 g(15%)
  • Fat1 g(1%)
  • Protein7 g(14%)
  • Saturated Fat0 g(2%)
  • Sodium246 mg(10%)
  • Polyunsaturated Fat0 g
  • Fiber1 g(6%)
  • Monounsaturated Fat0 g
  • Cholesterol2 mg(1%)

Leave a Review


This was excellent and so simple. It wasn't heavy at all and had a nice crunchy crust. It is so delicious with Irish butter it will not be relegated to just St. Patrick's Day.

Had to make this gluten free for my celiac husband, and I think it turned out surprisingly well: 3 C GF flour, 3/4 C oat flour (i.e. whirl about a cup of GF rolled oats in the food processor for 30-60 seconds until a coarse powder), 1 generous tsp baking soda; salt and buttermilk as written; and I added an egg and 1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum. Mixed in a stand mixer until blended, didn't turn it out onto a board, but then formed, put a cross on it, and baked it as written, and the result was crusty on the outside, chewy on the inside, dense and moist but not overly heavy. Yummy with butter, and I think it will make stellar toast in the morning, and will be a good go-to bread that will take additions well. Looking forward to experimenting!

Made this to go with som Shepherd's Pie to celebrate St Patrick's Day. Thought it might be too heavy, tasteless, etc. But was pleasantly surprised how simple but tasty it was! My two teenagers and husband had seconds and asked me to make again! Great w butter. I used 2 c white flour, 1 1/2 c whole wheat flour.

I halved the recipe to make a small loaf for a dinner party, and all of my guests loved it. It was super quick and easy to make. I'm keeping this on file for sure.

I loved this bread. A lot. It is definitely heavy, but crusty on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. Everything a good bread should be. Use the caraway seed. It says optional, but it totally makes the recipe. This tasted awesome dipped in he broth from my braised corned beef. Irish heaven.

I me bake yeast and quick breads regularly. This tasted fine but was HEAVY. I do not like lead-like breads. I tried this recipe because I could not find my old favorite given me by a Scottish woman. All I can say is her recipe sure was better than this Irishman's. I will hunt till I find it again!

Super easy recipe. Made it with ingredients I had on hand so unsweetened almond milk replaced the buttermilk. I also sprinkled some parmesan cheese on top. Other than that, I stuck to the recipe, including the baking time/temp, and in under an hour had delicious hot bread.

Great basic recipe. I've made it multiple times, varying the flour used with combinations of white and whole wheat, and all variations have been tasty so far. I think the best has been with 1 1/2 C white flour, 2 C whole wheat. Note: if you are dairy allergic/intolerant, this recipe turns out well using "clabbered" soymilk as a substitute for the buttermilk. I add about a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to my measuring cup, then pour in enough soymilk to make 1 1/2 cups. Stir and it will separate a bit and get thick.

I made this bread to accompany the beef stew and braised cabbage I made for my husband and I to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. The bread turned out exactly as I thought it should - it's not meant to be a sweet, loaded with flavor bread... it's meant to be a lot simpler, made with simple ingredients that you have on hand. I made the bread exactly as described, with the exception of adding a bit of rosemary to the top right before I popped it into the oven. I cut a large, deep X in the dough and it cooked perfectly for me without being doughy. Next time, I think I'll do what another reviewer suggested and add garlic and a few other ingredients (yes, I know it's not supposed to be a dressed-up bread, but hey, recipes are meant to experiment I think) A great traditional Irish bread!

This is a great recipe. It was quick and easy to make and tasted delicious! My family loved it and ate it all up. It's a keeper. Thanks for sharing.

Wow. This is an amazingly easy and amazingly good recipe. I was expecting something dry and not very leavened, but it rose really well and tasted moist and flavorful, even the next day. Surprisingly close in taste to a yeasted bread. This is a keeper. I used 1.5 cups while flour and 2 cups whole wheat flour.

Super easy and incredibly tasty! It ended up requiring more like 2 or 2 1/2 cups of buttermilk, but otherwise was free of complications. I used all whole-wheat flour and included the optional caraway seeds with great results. This bread has wonderful texture and good substance, and is great for people like me who can't eat foods containing yeast! Additionally, it's both healthy and economical.

I love this recipe. So versatile. I sometimes add small chunks of cheddar cheese or leave out the caraway seed and add gorgonzola. Always rave reviews when I make this.

Just threw this together. Used regular milk/white vinegar combo as I didn't have buttermilk. Use white flour. Threw in all the "buttermilk" at once and felt I should have held some back so sprinkled in more flour (about 1/2 c). Sprayed the top with olive oil pam and a very tiny sprinkle of sea salt to be sure it wasn't undersalted due to extra flour. Forgot to make the "x" initially and did it after the first couple of minutes. I was sure to make it very deep and go to the edges to avoid underbaked center as others noted. Perfectly baked after 35 minutes in a 390 degree convection oven. (I always decrease the temp 25 degrees using the convection and take off 5 min. but reduced temp to 390 and let it bake the full amount to be sure the middle wasn't underbaked)

This was the first soda bread I have made that came out very good. I added currants because I had some hanging around. The only thing I would add is that my bread came out a tad too moist in the middle. The next time I make it I will turn the oven down about halfway through and possibly cover it with foil to keep it from getting too brown.

I made this recipe as written (minus the caraway seeds) and it was terrible. The bread tastes uncooked (raw flour taste like another reviewer), perhaps it's my oven but I wouldn't try this again.

This was my first foray into baking ever. I picked this recipe because it seemed very easy and didn't require proofing or other frightening processes for the novice baker. I had a similar problem to some other reviewers ... the loaf didn't bake all the way through (I took EstherB's advice re: time and temp. Thinking it might be my oven). I'm going to try again and experiment with making the loaf thinner, hoping that will rememdy the baking time/taste problem. The big positive: this recipe prompted me to move on to other baking adventures and I'm really loving it!

The bread came together in 5 minutes. I didn't have any buttermilk on hand so I mixed 1 1/2 tablespoons of white vinegar with enough milk to make 1 1/2 cups of liquid. I cooked the loaf on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for 35 minutes, but it wasn't completely done. The outside browned well and a toothpick came out clean, but it still had a raw flour taste. After 5 minutes in the oven, the outside was a dark brown but it was still slightly undone in the middle. Next time, I would follow another recipe's directions and cook it at 400 degrees for 15 minutes and then at 350 for another 10-15 minutes.

Always perfect. I've made it with all kinds of meals, for breakfast or dinner (the leftovers are good cold for breakfast the next morning, if there ARE leftovers), with or without the caraway seeds, and it never fails. It's a fast favorite in our house and is devoured by grown-up and kid alike. Tonight It's going alongside steaming bowls of Irish beef stew - nothing better!

Can anyone give me a description of this bread? If so write me back at pnuckolls21@yahoo.com

To the cook who ended up with a brick, is it possible that your baking soda was old? Baking soda loses its potency after a while. That could definitely have made bricks. I did two loaves using all whole wheat flour, one with caraway seeds and one without, and they were both great! My sister thought the recipe could use a little more salt, but I thought the flavor was a great foil for the butter and cheese I served with them. Plus, the recipe came together in no time at all. I will absolutley make this again.

I just tried this bread with orange and lemon zest, poppyseeds, and subbing two eggs with fresh-squeezed orange juice for the buttermilk, I KNOW that I have deviated from the traditional Irish Soda Bread, but it WAS fabulous -- a great breakfast bread (It still took LESS than an hour).

This recipe is tasty, EXTREMELY simple, and the easiest I have found. It can easily be adapted to a particular flavour or texture you desire. Some may find this exact recipe bland, so be sure to have a bit of real salted butter and honey on hand for serving (similar to bisquits). Easy enough to make fresh everyday (I make it every other day). :D

This bread was super easy to make and tasted wonderful. I followed the recipe and it worked great. I am not sure why some of the other 'bad' reviewers had issues with this bread, this is pretty easy and tastes wonderful if you do it right.

This is a marvelous recipe! We made it exactly as stated for a St. Patrick's Day dinner and since then I have gone to experimenting with all sorts of variations. The most recent and most delicious was adding 1 Tbl Sugar, 2 cloves of crushed then chopped garlic, aprox. 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper, and aprox. 1 tsp fresh rosemary. Just before baking I also cracked more fresh pepper over the top of the loaf. It was glorious and I will continue trying many more variations of this simple starter recipe!