This is an easy Irish soda bread recipe with a 5-minute preparation and no kneading skills required! This yeast-free dough is perfect for beginner bakers and busy families!
Soda bread (Irish: arán sóide) is a traditional Irish bread. The dough for this bread doesn’t use yeast, but bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) which is the rising agent here.
No mixer and no proofing are needed to make a loaf of this brown soda bread. It’s so easy that it makes a great baking project for kids as well.
It is a perfect choice for those who want to try and make homemade bread but are put off by the long process that needs to be followed for yeast based breads. This Irish soda bread is quick to make and tastes amazing!
How to make Irish soda bread
Wholemeal and all-purpose flour are combined with salt and baking soda in a large mixing bowl. I have a 4.25-quart (4-liter) Mason Cash Bowl (see the link below) that I love for making Irish brown soda bread.
It’s wide enough so you can form a dough easily by hands, without having to transfer it onto a worktop. Now that being said, if you end up with a softer dough, it will be easier to shape it into a loaf on a worktop rather than in a bowl.
Now, give all those 4 ingredients a good stir before you add buttermilk. Then, all you have to do is mix everything – start with a wooden spoon and finish it off with your hands.
You don’t need to knead it. You want to shape it into a loaf. Then, place it onto a baking sheet lined with baking parchment and brush the soda bread loaf with egg wash.
Baking should not take long – only about 30 minutes so you can easily make a loaf of this Irish soda bread on a weeknight.
Tips for making best Irish soda bread
- Buttermilk can be substituted with kefir or natural yogurt (for example, I sometimes use Homemade Instant Pot Yogurt to make this soda bread and you can’t taste any difference). The only difference will be in the dough – buttermilk is thinner so your dough will be softer, while yogurt/kefir dough will be harder.
- I used 2 cups of liquid for 4 cups of flour. If you feel that your dough is dry or hard, don’t be afraid add a little bit more liquid. This can be because a cup of flour never weighs the same and sometimes you might end up with adding more flour, while other time less.
- If you feel that you added too much liquid, you can knead in some flour.
- Baking time can vary slightly (every oven bakes differently), but count with about 25 minutes (at 400° Fahrenheit/200° Celsius). What you are looking for is nice golden brown top and if still not sure, you can turn the soda bread loaf upside down and tap it. It should make a hollow sound and the crust should be brown as well.
- Egg is only used to brush the surface of this brown soda bread before baking. This gives it nice golden color. However, you can omit it, if you prefer.
- Traditionally, you would make a cross with a knife on top of the loaf, but you don’t have to do it. It won’t change its taste.
Note: This Irish Brown Soda Bread is an old post that has been updated with new photos and detailed instructions with lots of useful tips.
Check out our video for how to make Irish Brown Soda Bread:
Irish Brown Soda Bread
- Preheat oven to 400° Fahrenheit (200° Celsius).
- In a large mixing bowl, combine both flours, salt and baking soda and give everything a good mix until well combined.
- Pour in buttermilk and mix with a wooden spoon until the flour has absorbed all the liquid. Now, use your hands to form a dough. You can do this either in the bowl or by transferring the dough onto a floured worktop (if the dough is thicker, you might need to knead it to come together 2 or 3 times).
- Transfer the loaf onto a baking sheet lined with baking parchment and brush with egg wash (beaten egg).
- Bake in a preheated oven at 400° Fahrenheit (200° Celsius) for 30 minutes or until the bread is golden brown on top and the bottom is hard (brown as well).
- When ready, take it out and let it cool down before slicing.
- Buttermilk can be substituted with kefir or natural yogurt or unsweetened Greek yogurt. If your yogurt is thick, then you can mix it with regular milk to thin it out a little. You might need more/less liquid. This is because a cup of flour never weighs the same so sometimes you may end up with more flour while other time less. What you are after is dough that is not too thick (a thick loaf would be dry looking and hard to put together) nor too thin (you can’t form a loaf out of it as it spreads all over the baking sheet). That being said, this dough is quite forgiving so don’t worry about how it looks.
- Baking time can vary slightly. This will depend on your oven. I recommend placing the loaf onto the middle rack (avoid the top rack).