Around the World in 80 Plates: Soda Bread, Ireland 4/80

Soda bread is possibly the easiest, quickest bread you can make.

No kneading, no waiting for the dough to prove and best of all: only one dish to wash.

Soda bread has fast become my go-to loaf when we’re out of bread and I can’t be bothered to run to the shop (and I happen to have buttermilk on hand).

It’s quick, filling and best fresh out of the oven.

Start to finish, it can be made in under an hour. That’s usually unheard of for homemade bread, so this is a great recipe to get your bake on even if you’re strapped for time.

Soda bread slathered in butter

Soda bread slathered in butter

Buttermilk is the only ingredient I don’t always have on hand.

I’d never used it before, so I didn’t even know where to get it – you should be able to find it with the usual dairy items at most shops.

Hint: look near the cream or search through the Eastern European section of the fridge – mine is a Polish brand although the store does have an own brand (but for twice the price).

Buttermilk is key and it shouldn’t be substituted. The lactic acid in the buttermilk reacts with the bicarbonate of soda which turns the bicarb into the raising agent.

If you’re feeling adventurous or want to sneak in some veggies, grate a few carrots and throw them into the dough. I find it doesn’t change the flavour or consistency drastically (it could well go unnoticed if you don’t say anything) but it’s a good way to use up some carrots.

Soda bread with soup

Soda bread with soup

Whip up a batch of soup and while it’s simmering, get your bread going.

Everyone will appreciate the bread fresh out of the oven while the crust is crunchy and delicious (I think the crust is what makes this bread so tasty).

Serve it toasted for an extra dose of crisp.

Soda Bread

Prep time: 20 minutes
Prove time: none
Bake time: 30 minutes
Makes: 2-3 loaves
Soda bread fresh out of the oven

Soda bread fresh out of the oven


250g plain wholemeal flour
250g plain white flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt
420ml buttermilk
optionally, 100-150g grated carrot
pinch wholemeal flour for dusting


  1. Preheat oven to 200°C
  2. In a large bowl, combine wholemeal flour, white flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt
  3. Add buttermilk (and grated carrot if using)
  4. Mix with a wooden spoon or by hand until it’s just come together (this bread doesn’t require kneading – it’s meant to be a rough dough)
  5. With well-floured hands, divide and shape the dough into two or three balls
  6. Cut into the dough to make four sections, leaving the centre of the loaves uncut
  7. Sprinkle semolina on a tray and set the both cut loaves on the semolina, leaving room between them for expansion
  8. Dust the loaves with wholemeal flour
  9. Bake for 30 minutes
  10. Leave to cool

This recipe is taken from Paul Hollywood’s Bread on BBC Food.

Note that this recipe uses UK measurements, temperatures and ingredients. It can certainly be made outside the UK but ingredients may differ slightly, go by different names or need to be substituted altogether.

If you change this recipe to make it work outside the UK or if you have your own, please share in the comments!

Check out more recipes in my Around the World in 80 Plates series.

Fancy more posts about Ireland? Look no further.

Inspired to cook some international dishes? I’ve got your recipe needs covered.

Feeling hungry? Don’t look at these posts.

2 thoughts on “Around the World in 80 Plates: Soda Bread, Ireland 4/80

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