Make your own little taste of Ireland!

The use of soda in European baking began in the 19th century, making it’s way over the seas from the Americas.  Soda bread may not be unique to Ireland, but it has become particularly associated with the place.  A less traditional version of soda bread is going to make a cameo in the upcoming chapter of the comic during a flashback.

If you’ve never had Irish Soda Bread and are trying to imagine what it is like and if it is worth making, I would say it is somewhat similar to a scone or biscuit.  The traditional recipe does not call for butter, eggs, sugar, or bits of fruit you might find in a scone, and because of that, I find soda bread has a less fluffy texture, but it is wonderful fresh out of the oven, hearty and savoury rather than sweet.

There are many versions of soda bread, even within Ireland, but I wanted to make the most straight-forward, traditional version I could find.  This recipe originally comes from Let’s Dish.  The photo is of the loaf I actually made that was subsequently devoured.


Traditional Irish Soda Bread



  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups buttermilk


  1.   Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (230 degrees Celsius). Grease and flour a round cake pan.
  2.   In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt.
  3.   Gradually stir in the buttermilk until the dough comes together in a slightly sticky ball.
  4.   Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead gently a few times.
  5.   Form the dough into a ball and then press into the prepared pan so that the dough resembles a large disk. The dough should reach the edges of the pan, but may spring back slightly.
  6.   Cut an X into the dough with a sharp knife, about 1/4 of an inch deep. Cover the pan of dough with another round cake pan turned upside down.
  7.   Bake for 30 minutes, covered, then remove the top pan and bake uncovered for about 10 minutes more or until the crust is dark golden brown.


I used a fairly deep cake pan so I found the second cake pan turned upside down on top to be unnecessary; I could just use foil to prevent the top from browning prematurely.

If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make it by adding 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to each cup of regular milk, and letting it stand for 5 minutes.  The acidity in the buttermilk is necessary for activating the baking soda.

According to Wikipedia, a “soft wheat” such as cake flour should be used.  That’s something I never have around the house, but according to Joy the Baker, you can make your own cake flour by removing 2 tablespoons from each cup of all purpose flour and replace with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, and then sift the combination 5 times.  This has worked well for me with actual cakes, so give it a try!

Other varieties of Irish soda bread include making it with wholemeal instead of white flour, or stout instead of buttermilk.


If you try the recipe or any variations, or if you have your own recipe, share it in the comments!