Kick St. Patrick’s Day off with a wholesome and hearty loaf of super easy Irish soda bread. Made from just 5 ingredients and ready to eat in 40 minutes, this easy bread recipe is one everyone can make. Yes, even you!
Never made bread before? You can make this Irish soda bread. Don’t have a bread machine? You can make this Irish soda bread. Can’t be bothered to knead dough? You can make this Irish soda bread. Don’t have any buttermilk? You can make this Irish soda bread.
Do you see what I’m getting at? Anyone can make this Irish soda bread, that’s how super easy the recipe really is.
What makes Irish soda bread different?
The ingredients. The only rising agent in traditional Irish soda bread is bicarbonate of soda (also known as baking soda). When the bicarbonate of soda (a base) mixes with the buttermilk (an acid), bubbles of carbon dioxide are created, causing the bread to rise.
If you only have the base or the acid, the brown soda bread will never rise. That’s why you can’t omit baking soda or buttermilk in the recipe. You need both of them or the Irish soda bread will, quite literally, fall flat.
Don’t have any buttermilk? I’ll let you in on a little secret: you can make your own at home with common ingredients in minutes. That’s what I did in this recipe and my easy Irish soda bread turned out amazing. Scroll down to find out how to make buttermilk at home from scratch.
Yeast is the most common rising agent in “regular” bread loaf recipes. The yeast helps the bread dough rise by feeding off sugars and releasing carbon dioxide in the process.
If you don’t have any additional sugar in a regular bread recipe (in the form of granulated sugar, brown sugar, honey, etc) the yeast won’t “feed” and won’t release carbon dioxide, leaving you with a flat loaf.
How do you make buttermilk?
There are a couple of different ways you can make buttermilk at home. The 2 primary ingredients you need are milk and an acid. The most common types of acid to make buttermilk for brown soda bread are lemon juice and vinegar.
You only need a tiny amount, so it doesn’t matter which you choose. The flavor will be the same.
To make homemade buttermilk, you combine 1 tablespoon (15ml) of acid for every cup (250ml) of milk. Pour the ingredients into a jug, give them a stir and leave them to sit for 5-10 minutes. The milk will thicken slightly (not as much as store-bought buttermilk) and become perfect for baking.
Using this simple little trick, you can technically make Irish soda bread without buttermilk. Score!
Can you make vegan buttermilk?
Yes, you can make vegan buttermilk!
You make vegan buttermilk in exactly the same way as you make dairy buttermilk. Combine 250ml of the dairy-free milk of your choice (almond, oat, soy...whatever you like!) with 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice. Leave to sit for 5-10 minutes until thick then use in this recipe.
This simple substitution is an easy way to make this traditional Irish soda bread vegan so everyone can enjoy a slice.
Is brown Irish soda bread good for you?
Yes, Irish soda bread is good for you, for loads of different reasons. Here are a few:
- This easy Irish soda bread is made entirely from scratch without any nasties.
- Half of the flour is whole wheat, which is loaded in fiber and helps lower bad cholesterol levels.
- Contains zero added sugar — perfect for anyone following a sugar-free diet.
- Contains zero fat.
- You can use any milk you like — choose low-fat, low-sugar skimmed milk to make it healthy.
- Can be made dairy-free — great for anyone who struggles to digest lactose.
Ready in 40 minutes
This easy Irish soda bread recipe is genuinely ready in 40 minutes. So if you wake up on St. Patrick’s Day morning, craving a thick slice of hearty and wholesome traditional Irish soda bread, you can easily whip up a loaf and have it on the breakfast table before anyone even realizes you forgot to make it the night before. (Even if you don’t have any buttermilk!)
- Preheat the oven.
- Mix the ingredients together.
- Knead for a few seconds into a ball.
- Slice the top.
That’s really all there is to it! No fancy stand mixer, no multiple rises, no kneading for hours and no bread machine. Just traditional mixing, baking then eating.
More bread recipes
If this easy Irish soda bread recipe gives you a taste for baking your own bread at home, here are some more easy bread recipes you’ll love.
- The Only Healthy Whole Wheat Bread Recipe You’ll Ever Need — One of my most popular recipes ever! With step-by-step pics, too.
- Never-Fail White Bread Recipe — A great place to move onto after you make this easy Irish soda bread.
Easy Irish Soda Bread
- 6 oz/170g whole wheat flour
- 6 oz/170g all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 290 ml buttermilk
- Preheat the oven to 395C/200F and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, salt and baking soda.
- Pour in the buttermilk and stir until a shaggy dough forms.
- Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until a smooth ball forms.
- Place the ball onto the lined baking tray and cut a cross into the top.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, until brown and springy.
- Leave to cool for around 15 minutes on a baking tray before slicing and serving.