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The easiest way to make the best Irish soda bread

Traditional Irish soda bread

Traditional Irish soda bread is made with only four ingredients

Delicious Irish soda bread

Today we're making traditional Irish soda bread for St. Patrick's Day! Irish soda bread is soft and juicy on the inside and has a crunchy crust on the outside.

No yeast needed to make traditional Irish soda bread.
  you need  just  four simple ingredients.

  1. Pastry or cake flour
  2. Baking soda
  3. milk
  4. salt

This is it! These four ingredients make some delicious bread that tastes amazing fresh out of the oven and stirred into butter and jam.

Should you use pastry or cake flour for authentic Irish soda bread?

I've seen a lot of recipes online for Irish soda bread that use all-purpose flour and frankly, if you use that flour, your baking will be very tough. You really need to use a soft, low-protein flour like cake or pastry flour so your bread is nice and fluffy, not too thick.

What is the traditional Irish soda bread?

Baking soda is quick bread made with baking soda instead of yeast. It became popular in Ireland around the time of the Irish Potato Famine of 1845-1849 as an inexpensive but nutritious food. 

I usually deal with really traditional and original recipes, but I have to say I prefer the modern modifications that contain butter and eggs. Some variations also include raisins or streams, which give Irish soda bread a bit more flavour.

Do you need buttermilk for authentic Irish soda bread?

Traditional Irish soda bread is made with inexpensive ingredients that were readily available at the time. The curd was actually what was originally used, not the curd. Curd is milk that has become sour. Not great for drinking. So the dairies had to think of a way to sell the milk that was useless.

Buying curd was cheaper than buying fresh milk, so it was a great choice for baking. But to make the curd work in the recipe, the baking soda was needed to create a reaction (also known as bubbles) to make the bread rise.

Nowadays, we have butter that is similar to curd. If you don't have curd, you can add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar or lemon juice to 2 cups of plain milk, stirring.

You can also add 1 1/2 teaspoons of cream of tartar to milk and get similar results.

How do you make Irish soda bread?

Making Irish soda bread couldn't be easier. Mix the cake flour, baking soda and salt together, then make a hole in the middle. Add half of your milk and gently fold the dry ingredients from the outside toward the center. Then add the rest of the milk and stir until everything is wet.

Form into a rough ball, sprinkle the surface with some flour and don't forget to cut a cross on top!

Bake in a Dutch oven or heavy skillet with a cake pan on top. This is it!

What does the cross on Irish soda bread mean?

A cross is often cut on the top of Irish soda bread before baking. This cut allows the bread to spread properly without splitting and warping. These four divisions are also known as ' Pharls '. When serving, divide the bread into quarters using the cross on top of the loaf as a guide. 

Irish legend also says that this cross on bread keeps evil spirits at bay!

Is Irish soda bread really Irish?

Soda bread was not invented in Ireland but the Irish made it what it is today out of necessity. When baking soda became available as a rising agent, the Irish began using it to make inexpensive bread from fine winter wheat flour (also known as cake or pastry flour) commonly grown in Ireland's harsh environment.

Traditionally, yeast is used to make bread but it needs durum wheat flour (also known as all-purpose flour) to work well and is expensive and hard to come by.

After the twentieth century, as the rest of the world moved toward leavened bread, the Irish stuck to soda bread, thus naming it Irish soda bread.

What does Irish soda bread taste like?

The first time I ate Irish soda bread, I was a little surprised that it wasn't very similar to bread. Bread is in the name after all. But in truth, Irish soda bread is like a giant cake. Soft and fluffy on the inside but with a crunchy, crumbly crust. 

The taste of traditional Irish soda bread is very pleasant. There isn't a lot of flavor in this bread because it's really meant to be served alongside a meal like Irish stew . The texture of authentic Irish soda bread is firm yet not too hard and has a wonderfully crunchy outer crust. Sweet Irish soda bread may contain sugar, eggs, butter and other ingredients such as caraway seeds and raisins. This modern version of Irish soda bread is more like a sweet biscuit or muffin than a bagel and is softer to eat but more candy-like.

What is the best way to eat Irish soda bread?

So, if Irish soda bread looks like a giant cake, the best way to eat it is as if you were eating a cake. Warm with a little butter or jam, it tastes better.

Slice Irish soda bread and toast for a minute or two to heat it up, then top with some softened butter. I actually love a warm slice of Irish soda bread in the morning with my coffee.

Irish soda bread with jam

Traditional Irish soda bread

Traditional Irish soda bread is made with just four ingredients. The secret is to use cake flour to get the most authentic Irish soda bread.Preparation time: 5 minutes Cooking time: four five minutes Calories: 235 calories


  • 16 ounces ( 454 g ) cookie or pastry flour (9% protein or less)
  • ▢1 1/2 teaspoons Baking soda
  • ▢1 teaspoon salt
  • ▢14 ounces ( 397 g ) buttermilk or 14 ounces milk plus 2 tablespoons white vinegar


  • Dutch oven or large covered pot


  • Heat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Sift the flour, baking soda and salt into a large bowl
  • Make a hole in the center then add half the amount of milk, stirring gently until blended

  • Add the rest of the milk and keep stirring gently until a sticky dough forms
  • Place the sticky dough on a workbench dusted with flour
  • Fold the dough a few times (2-3) to form a ball, but don't over work on it or the bread will be tough.

  • Use a sharp knife to cut a 'cross' at the top of the dough to allow it to expand while baking

  • Place the dough in the Dutch oven and cover it. Bake at 425°F for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and bake for another 15 minutes or until the internal temperature of your bread reaches 195°F -200°F.
  • Serve Irish soda bread warm with some butter and jam or alongside a creamy stew. This bread will keep for up to two days but is really meant to be eaten the day it is made.


Cake or pastry flour is very important in this recipe for nice, soft bread. Look for soft or low-protein flours in your area that have 9% protein or less.
You can substitute yogurt for regular milk plus 2 tablespoons of white vinegarYou can also use milk powder with waterFor the best possible results, read the blog post and the recipe to avoid common mistakes.
Use a scale to weigh your ingredients (including liquids) unless otherwise indicated (tablespoons, teaspoons, pinch etc.). Metric measurements are available on the recipe card. Measuring ingredients are more accurate than using cups and help ensure the success of your recipe.
Metric measurements (in grams) are available by clicking on the small square below the ingredients on the recipe card labeled 'Metric'
Practice Miz In Plus (everything in place). Measure your ingredients in advance and have them ready before you start mixing to reduce the chances of anything being left unintentionally.
Try to use the same ingredients the recipe calls for. If you must make a substitution, be aware that the recipe may not turn out the same. I try to list alternatives where possible.


Service: service | Calories: 235 calories (12%) | Carbohydrates: 44 (fifteen 
percent) | Protein: (16%) | Fat: (5%) | Saturated

 fat: (5%) | Cholesterol: mg (two%) | Sodium: 549 mg (2.3%) | Potassium: 124 mg (4%) | Core: (4%) | sugar:(3%) | Vitamin
 A: 82 IU (two%) | Calcium: 66 mg (7%) | Iron: mg (6%)

Do not forget to read this article, which will help you choose the right place to celebrate St. Patrick's Day



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