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Irish Soda Bread is a quick bread that does not require any yeast.  Instead, all its leavening comes from baking soda and buttermilk.  This Irish soda bread recipe is an authentic Irish recipe.  Unlike many, it is solid, yet soft and has the most incredible crusty exterior.  Cold butter and buttermilk are the secrets to its delicious success!

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 1 loaf

Ingredients

  • 1 and 3/4 cups (420ml) buttermilk*
  • 1 large egg (optional, see note)
  • 4 and 1/4 cups (531g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), plus more for your hands and counter
  • 3 Tablespoons (38g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 Tablespoons (70g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed*
  • optional: 1 cup (150g) raisins

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven & pan options: Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). There are options for the baking pan.  Use a regular baking sheet and line with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat (bread spreads a bit more on a baking sheet), or use a seasoned 10-12 inch cast iron skillet, or grease a 9-10 inch cake pan or pie dish.  You can also use a 5 quart (or higher) dutch oven.  Grease or line with parchment paper.  If using a dutch oven, bake the bread with the lid off.
  2. Whisk the buttermilk and egg together. Set aside.  Whisk the flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl.  Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter, a fork, or your fingers.  The mixture is very heavy on the flour, but do your best to cut in the butter until the butter is pea-sized crumbs.  Stir in the raisins.  Pour in the buttermilk/egg mixture.  Gently fold the dough together until the dough it is too stiff to stir.  Pour crumbly dough onto a lightly floured work surface.  With floured hands, work the dough into a ball as best you can, then knead for about 30 seconds or until all the flour is moistened.  If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour.
  3. Transfer the dough to the prepared skillet/pan. Using a very sharp knife, score an X into the top.  Bake until the bread is golden brown and the center appears cooked through about 45 minutes.  Loosely cover the bread with aluminum foil if you notice heavy browning on top.  I usually place foil on top halfway through bake time.
  4. Remove from the oven and allow the