Possibly the easiest bread in the world to make. When you want a freshly baked wholemeal loaf in 45 minutes, Irish Soda Bread is the answer. No yeast, no kneading, no proving.
Irish Soda Bread makes the ideal loaf for lunch – I even make it on holiday, especially if we’re entertaining, to serve with a roast chicken and a tray of roasted vegetables.
What is Soda Bread?
Soda Bread is made with baking soda as the raising agent instead of yeast. You don’t really knead it and you don’t leave it to rise so it’s quick and easy!
What sort of flour do you need?
I use two-thirds wholemeal flour in this recipe because I don’t want an overly heavy loaf. Just wholemeal is fine though.
You don’t need to use bread (or strong) flour. Everyday plain wholemeal and white flours are great.
Do you need buttermilk?
The short answer is NO (but see the info on baking soda). Here I use full-fat yoghurt diluted with water, but you could just use milk with a teaspoon of bottled lemon or lime juice.
What’s soda anyway?
The soda in Soda Bread is technically sodium bicarbonate, which is sold as Baking Soda or sometimes as Bicarbonate of Soda. You will find this in the Home Baking aisle in the supermarket.
You may also see large packs of sodium bicarbonate in the Cleaning aisle. This is the same chemical composition but it isn’t manufactured to food grade standards – so don’t cook with it – but it is great for cleaning burnt saucepans and for deodorising the fridge.
What’s the baking powder for?
To be authentic, you should make Irish Soda Bread with buttermilk, which then reacts with the Baking Soda to raise the bread. But we’re not using buttermilk, so the baking powder is needed to make the bread rise.
Also, TBH, the taste of baking soda is quite strong and I don’t like too much of it (probably heresy, but it’s my preference!)
How easy is it then?
All you do is weigh and mix. A fork is the best implement for the mixing, then use your hands to shape the loaf before cutting a large cross in the middle – job done!
What if I want a smaller loaf?
I’ve made Soda Bread successfully using two-thirds of the ingredients (200g wholemeal flour, 100g white flour, 5ml bicarb, 5ml baking powder, a scant teaspoon of salt and 240ml liquid – either yoghurt/water or milk). Cook for 20-25 minutes.
What else do you need to make Soda Bread?
- Non-Stick Baking Sheet – A non-stick baking sheet with only one side means you can slide your Soda Bread off easily straight onto the cooling rack
- Silicone Baking Mat – I use this mat to shape the bread on and then put it on the baking sheet to cook. No need to flour or grease as it’s non-stick. Clean in the dishwasher or in a bowl of hot soapy water.
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Irish Soda Bread
- 300 g wholewheat flour
- 150 g plain white flour
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (5ml)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder (10ml)
- 1 teaspoon salt (5ml)
- 300 ml yoghurt mixed with
- 100 ml water
- Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan, gas mark 7/425°F
- Grease the baking sheet or line with magic liner or a silicone baking mat
- Mix the yoghurt and water in a jug
To make the Soda Bread:
- Put the dry ingredients into a large bowl and mix well. (Flours, bicarb, baking powder, salt)
- Make a well in the centre and pour in the yoghurt mix. Use a large fork to mix to form a soft, but not wet, dough
- Use your hands to shape the dough into a ball and place on your baking sheet. Flatten the dough slightly and cut a deep cross in the centre
- Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the bottom sounds hollow when knocked
- Wrap in a clean, dry cloth to prevent the crust becoming too hard
- Eat warm or cold.
Everyday Cooks Tips:
- Soda Bread doesn’t keep well so make it the day that you want to eat it. Use for toast on subsequent days
- Slice any leftovers and freeze to toast later
- Make a smaller loaf with two-thirds ingredinets (200g wholemeal flour, 100g white flour, 5ml bicarb, 5ml baking powder, a scant teaspoon of salt and 240ml liquid – either yoghurt/water or milk). Cook for 20-25 minutes.