How to Make Traditional Irish Soda Bread

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Learn how to make traditional Irish Soda Bread from a charming, thatched-roof cottage in Northern Ireland! It’s a classic, 4 ingredient way of making soda bread and it’s delicious!

Girl holding homemade Irish soda bread.

Visiting an adorable cottage in Northern Ireland and making Irish Soda bread in Ireland was an incredible experience! Our hostess, Tracey, opened her home to us, where she lives with her husband and 2 boys.

Eden Passante in front of a cottage in Northern Ireland.

The setting is exactly as you would picture it with rolling green hills and farmland as a backdrop, situated near the Irish coast. We learned a simple way of making Irish soda bread. It’s a staple in their home and they serve it during the main meal or in the morning with homemade jam, butter or even with an egg on top.

Traditional Irish Soda Bread 

Traditional Irish Soda Bread is incredibly easy to make and uses only 4 ingredients. It’s made with flour, baking soda, salt and buttermilk.

The history of Irish Soda Bread is plain and simple… it uses basic, affordable ingredients and has been made for thousands of years.

Eden Passante holding a jug of buttermilk.

It doesn’t cost a lot of money to make, so families would bake the bread daily to fill their bellies. Often, families lived in rural, secluded farm areas without ovens, so the bread was baked on a griddle over a hot fire. Still to this day, the north and the south bake their Irish bread differently.

The south does one round large loaf and in Northern Ireland, where we learned, they make more of a flat round disc and cut it into four pieces.

How to Make Irish Soda Bread 

We learned that there is no written recipe for creating Irish Soda Bread. It’s based on four ingredients and texture. It’s all about having the right balance of each ingredient until it feels right in your hands.

You get the hang of it after a few attempts. So how do you make Irish Soda Bread?

Start with about 2 cups of flour and add in 2 teaspoons baking soda. It’s about 1 teaspoon baking soda per 150 grams of all-purpose flour.

Toss in a little salt, about 1/2 a teaspoon and then give it a stir.

Eden Passante making Irish Soda Bread in a cottage in Northern Ireland

Make a hole in the center of the flour and fill it with good quality buttermilk.

A gold scale in Northern Ireland.

Then, using a wooden spoon, mix until it’s a thicker consistency, but not too sticky. You want a light, airy dough ball. Add more flour or buttermilk until you get the right texture.

Place the dough on a flat surface with flour, so it doesn’t stick, and knead it lightly. Pretty much just toss it around until it’s not sticky and roll it into a ball!

Flatten the ball and roll it out a little until it’s about a 2″ thick round disc.

Irish man using his hands to knead dough to make Irish soda bread.

Cut the disc in 4 and place on a hot griddle. Tracey uses a griddle similar to this for making the bread. It worked really well and would be great for Irish potato bread too!

Leave it on the griddle until the bread rises. Then seal it by turning on each side to brown.

You can also use a griddle over a stovetop as well.

Eden Passante using a spatula to cook Irish soda bread.
Holding Irish soda bread in hand.

This is made to be a dense texture. It should be served warm with butter and jam.

Can you freeze Irish soda bread?

Yes, you can freeze Irish soda bread too if you wrap it tightly in plastic wrap.

Pouring cream into a tea cup.

Tracey had endless hot coffee and tea ready for us when we arrived and throughout our cooking class! It was such a cozy experience.

Eden Passante standing outside a cottage in Northern Ireland.

What does Irish soda bread taste like?

There is a similar taste to a classic biscuit. It’s a mild flavor and is dense in texture. It’s not made to be eaten alone and tastes best with butter and jam.

Is Irish soda bread really Irish?

Yes! The tradition has been passed down from generation to generation in Ireland. It has always been a staple in their diet, especially for poor families as it provides nutrients and full bellies for a very low price.

It’s not even really a recipe, it’s more knowing the basic ingredients and feeling the texture in your hands when making it.

How do you eat Irish soda bread?

Slice it in half and add butter and jam on the bread. You can also serve it with a hardy stew on a cold day.

Spooning jam onto a biscuit.

She also made homemade jams for us to try, which were delicious and paired really well with our Irish soda bread.

Irish soda bread with butter and jam

Tracey’s Berry Infused Gin

At the end of the day, Tracey let me try a berry-infused gin she had been infusing for 2 years! It was 3/4 gin, 1/4 sugar, and then a few handfuls of what would be considered blueberries here in America.

If you’re curious about taking this food class, here is Tracey’s website.

Pouring berry infused gin into a shot glass.

More Recipes You’ll Love

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Let us know if you make this bread by leaving a comment and review below! We’d love to know your thoughts!

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Irish Soda Bread

We learned how to make Irish soda bread in a tiny cottage in Ireland. Here are the steps to creating authentic, real Irish soda bread.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Brunch
Cuisine: Irish
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Calories: 1022kcal
Author: Eden

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda, It’s about 1 teaspoon baking soda per 150 grams of all-purpose flour.
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk , full-fat buttermilk

Instructions

  • In a mixing bowl add flour and add in the baking soda.
  • Add in the salt and give it a stir using a wooden spoon.
  • Make a hole in the center of the flour and fill it with good quality buttermilk.
  • Then, using a wooden spoon, mix until it’s a thicker consistency, but not too sticky. You want a light, airy dough ball.
  • Add more flour or buttermilk until you get the right texture.
  • Place the dough on a flat surface with flour, so it doesn’t stick, and knead it lightly. Pretty much just toss it around until it’s not sticky and roll it into a ball!
  • Flatten the ball and roll it out a little until it’s about a 2″ thick round disc.
  • Cut the disc in 4 and place on a hot griddle. Tracey uses a griddle similar to this for making the bread. It worked really well and would be great for Irish potato bread too!
  • Leave it on the griddle until the bread rises. Then seal it by turning on each side to brown. Enjoy it while it’s warm!

Notes

This recipe is based on what we did in our Irish soda bread class in Ireland. Technically, there is no actual written recipe for creating Irish Soda Bread.
It’s based on four ingredients and texture. It’s all about having the right balance of each ingredient until it feels right in your hands. You get the hang of it after a few attempts. 
Add more flour or buttermilk if you need. 

Nutrition

Calories: 1022kcal | Carbohydrates: 200g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 3874mg | Potassium: 511mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 297IU | Calcium: 245mg | Iron: 12mg
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