Irish Soda Bread

Irish-Soda-Bread1An easy and pleasing bread is Irish Soda Bread. Made without yeast for all of you who are scared of yeasty doughs (really there is nothing to be the least scared about. Yeast breads are very easy).

I think traditionally soda breads are made with raisins but I made mine without. The recipe comes directly from Rufus’ Food and Spirit Guide, a fine cooking blog if there ever was one. I made this for St. Patrick’s Day, and we surely enjoyed it.

This makes 2 loaves, so freeze one for another occasion.


  • 4 c unbleached flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp grated orange zest
  • 1 tsp caraway seed
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 1  1/2 c buttermilk (or use milk with 1 tbsp vinegar, stir and let sit for 15 minutes)
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1/2 c milk
  • 1 c dried currents (optional)


  1. Put baking soda, baking powder, and flour together, stir a bit and then sift together.
  2. Add salt, zest, and caraway seeds and mix.
  3. Dice up the butter and cut it into the flour until you have a crumbly mix.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and honey. (add the currents if using)
  5. Slowly add to the flour, stirring it in with a fork until it comes together enough to make a dough. You may not need all the milk.
  6. Knead a few times to bring it into a tight mass. Divide dough in half and place on greased baking sheet.
  7. Cut an X in the top of each with a sharp knife.
  8. Brush with milk/egg mixture.
  9. Let sit for 10 minutes
  10. Bake in a preheated 350° oven for about 30 minutes or until it thumps with tapped.

SERVES: 2 loaves

NOTES: This makes a very nice breakfast bread I find. The sweetness of the bread compliments some good butter and perhaps some marmalade!


11 thoughts on “Irish Soda Bread

  1. With the exception of the orange zest (which I would like) and honey, this is most silimar to my great grandmother’s receipe — she being from County Mayo.
    I never met her of course but I have her well-worn, treasured copies of this and several other recipes – in her handwriting! You probably know that currents and caraway seeds were always used.
    I usually crush the caraway seeds a bit to get a start on the flavor.

    Thank you.

    • Thanks for the wonderful story! I am sure you do treasure your grandmother’s recipe. This recipe is of course not traditional since currents as you say are fairly basic to it. I prefer them without it, but as a breakfast bread, I would find them a nice addition. Thanks for the information you have shared. !END

    • Well, since I stole your recipe, I felt it was only right to steal someone else’s picture. I mean I try not to be too greedy in my stealing! lol. !END

  2. One thing I want to ask, Sherry – I often contemplate giving up breads and other white stuff, yet, these things, like the Soda Bread, are a real treat. I can’t imagine never enjoying the abundance of delicious recipes out there. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to drop these last 6 pounds. How do you manage as a wonderful baker that you are?

    • I’m not doing very well Jean, but I’m not gaining. I have lost about 5 pounds in the last 7 weeks by semi-fasting 2 days a week (500 calorie) days. I find that I over compensate in the evenings too much though. I gained 3 tenths of a lb last week and I’m depressed! I’m so tired of this, and really shocked at how difficult it’s become for me. But I do try to eat more fruit and vegetables, and I am getting pretty darn scrupulous when it comes to cooking only from real ingredients. I have 2 12oz cokes a week. They are real treats. I buy them from Mexico where they still use real sugar and not HFCornsyrup. The taste is amazing–reminds me of when I was a kid. But my advice is not original–exercise regularly (admit that it’s now a lifelong pursuit), eat real food, and try to eat light twice a week. But talk to me in 6 months! I may have a different idea by them. 😦 !END

      • I like your approach somewhat – I just don’t think I could fast. I get hypoglycemic easily. Honestly, it’s the colder seasons that are difficult for me. In summer, I spend a lot of time outside doing heavy gardening work and then some hiking. I have to force myself out in the winter and eat less during those months.

      • Oh I can surely see the difficulty if you are hypoglycemic. You must eat protein isn’t it every few hours? I had a friend and coworker who used to carry cheese around for those moments when she needed a boost. I’m still undecided if this will work for me, but frankly I’ve exhausted everything else, so it either does or I’m doomed. But at least I’m getting fit, even with all the extra weight I carry. I’m told that matters more than the weight. But I am losing, its just so darn slow that it will take two years! I guess that should not matter. !END

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