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cut soda bread loaf and buttered slices

Soda Bread

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  • Author: Glenda Embree (as adapted from Darina Allen & Paul Hollywood)
  • Total Time: 38 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x


Easy and delicious quick bread recipe that gets hot, home baked bread on the table in around 30 minutes.  This should be as much of an everyday go-to bread recipe as my easy biscuits


Units Scale
  • 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (450 g /1 lb.)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
  • 1 3/4 cups full fat buttermilk (about 400 ml / 13 – 14 fluid oz.), (*See Notes for substitution)
  • optional add-ins, 1 cup raisins, 1 cup dried cranberries, or 1 cup grated Parmesan or Cheddar cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F and add parchment paper to the bottom of a 10″ cast iron skillet or to a baking sheet.
  2. Measure your flour into a large mixing bowl. Add the baking soda and salt and stir to evenly distribute them throughout the flour.
  3. If you are using add-ins like golden raisins or grated cheese, stir them into the flour, now. This will help to distribute them evenly throughout the final dough. The coating of flour keeps them from clumping together and helps to suspend them in the dough, so they don’t all end up sinking to the bottom of the loaf.
  4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in all but about 2 Tablespoons of the the buttermilk.
  5. With your hands or a wooden spoon stir just enough to combine all the ingredients. The mixture should come into the shape of a shaggy, sticky ball with no flour left in the bottom of your bowl. If the dough seems too dry or you can’t incorporate all the flour, add the rest of the buttermilk and stir. Don’t over mix, though. (The whole process of measuring ingredients, mixing and shaping the bread should take only about 5 to 10 minutes, once you have this recipe down.)
  6. Turn the shaggy dough out onto a heavily floured board or counter top.Be sure you’ve floured your hands, too.
  7. Begin shaping the loaf into a round by using the palms of your hands to gently press and turn the loaf. Scoop flour against the sides as you do, to keep it from sticking to your hands. Gently tuck the sides under the loaf as you turn and round it, to start creating a smoother surface. This is still a very soft and rough dough, but the surface will become much smoother than when it started.
  8. Gently shape the dough into a round disc that is 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 inches thick.
  9. Dust the top of the loaf with flour and use a bench scraper or sharp knife to cut a cross into the full diameter of the top of the loaf. Cut deeply. You don’t need to cut all the way through, but at least an inch deep. Spread the cuts open slightly to help with even baking.
  10. Place the loaf of bread into your prepared skillet or onto the prepared baking sheet.
  11. Bake at 400° for 25 to 35 minutes. To tell if the loaf is done check to see that the loaf has risen (will be domed in the center, where it was once flat) and it will be golden brown. The loaf will also sound hollow when thumped on the bottom. The center of the cross will be dry and show no signs of moisture. And a tester inserted into the center should come out clean.
  12. Transfer the bread to a wire rack and allow it to cool for 15 to 20 minutes before slicing.


* BUTTERMILK SUBSTITUTION: If you don’t have access to buttermilk, put 2 Tablespoons of Vinegar in the bottom of your measuring cup and add whole milk to make 1 3/4 cups of liquid.

**STORING SODA BREAD: Toss a clean tea towel over the loaf on your counter.  Soda bread is best eaten the day it is baked.  My guess is you will never have an issue making that happen.   But, if you do have a slice or two left the next day, I have had the best luck with toasting the slices in the oven.

  • Prep Time: 8 min
  • Cook Time: 30 min
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Irish American