Irish Soda Bread Recipe

Irish Soda Bread Recipe

With all of the Irish pubs in Chicago and the consequent massive amounts of Guinness and Jameson consumed, I should be some sort of leading expert on Irish food by now. The fact is, I’ve never had soda bread in the traditional sense before.

The base recipe is probably similar, but the brown bread served with Irish beef stews in this, the city that dyes its rivers green, always has raisins. The addition of dried fruit makes a spotted dog or spotted dick, an appropriately named Irish soda bread variation.

That being said, add a handful of raisins to the following recipe and you get a spotted dick.

Unfortunately, I was giggling like an idiot while writing that.

To get the right texture and tenderness in your soda bread, use coarsely milled whole wheat flour with a low protein content. Here are a few options, in order of desirability:

recipe adapted from Jeffrey Hamelman’s Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes
Bread Baking Day #18: Quick Breads hosted by Fun & Food

Irish Soda Bread Recipe

makes one round loaf, about 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients                  Volume          Ounces          Grams
coarse whole wheat flour      1 3/4 cups          8.0          225
pastry flour            1/2 cup + 1 tbsp          2.6           75
baking soda                   1 1/2 tsp
baking powder                   1/2 tsp
salt                            3/4 tsp
sugar (optional)                1/2 tsp
powdered milk (optional)          4 tsp

buttermilk, room temp     1 cup + 2 tbsp          9.3          262

Directions:

Preheat Oven    475ºF / 245ºC

Prepare a sheet pan lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper.

Mix Dry Ingredients
                Place the dry ingredients in a large bowl and whisk
                until thoroughly mixed.

                Pour the buttermilk and mix using a rubber spatula
                only until thoroughly moistened, taking care to
                prevent over-mixing. The dough should be sticky but
                not runny.

Pan             Deposit the dough onto the lined sheet pan. Roughly
                shape into a round by cupping the dough with lightly
                floured hands while rotating. Start from the sides of
                the dough towards the bottom, palms up, repeating as
                necessary.

                Lightly dust the top of the shaped loaf with flour.

Irish Soda Bread Recipe Shaped

                Using a bench scraper or knife, cut the dough about
                3/4 of the way through into 4 equal sections.

Irish Soda Bread Recipe Scored

Bake            475ºF / 245ºC for 15 minutes. Rotate the sheet pan and
                immediately lower the heat to 450ºF / 230ºC. Bake for
                another 15 minutes, until the ridges are well-browned.

To Serve:

Irish soda bread is best eaten the day it is made. Serve with butter, marmalade, jam, honey, or cream cheese.

Irish Soda Bread Recipe Sliced
Is Irish soda bread supposed to look like a four-leaf clover?

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53 Responses to “Irish Soda Bread Recipe”

  1. Rosa says:

    Your Soda Bread looks perfect! Mmmhhh, with some homemade jam….

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  2. Girl says:

    Wow, and WOW, and WOW..p.s. is that a silk pad you are using? Gosh this looks fantastic, and it is homemade, you are SOOOOOO talented, you truly are!!!

  3. Caitlin says:

    Unfortunately, I began giggling like a maniac too. So I guess that means fortunately, you’re not the only one? I don’t know if I’ve ever put fruit in my soda bread, so yours looks just perfect.

  4. lisaiscooking says:

    I’m 75% Irish, and St. Patrick’s Day was always a celebration with my family. But, I’ve never made Irish soda bread! Yours looks delicious.

  5. RecipeGirl says:

    Love this dark, whole wheat version. Never have tried a soda bread w/ ww flour.

  6. Asata from Life Chef says:

    I’m still giggling. I’ve never had fruit in my Irish Soda Bread either. I fell in love with this bread in culinary school actually. Don’t see much of it here in Atlanta, but then I’m probably not looking in the right places. As usual, a wonderful post! — Asata @ Life Chef

  7. Aparna says:

    I’ve never eaten or made soda bread. It seems so easy I should try it.
    Btw Jude, I was wondering if you knew the BBD theme this month is “Quick breads”?

  8. Christina says:

    I didn’t know that about the raisins and the name… Yes, I’m giggling. I’ve seen that strange version in the can in the store, but I assumed it was a steamed pudding sort of thing.

    The bread looks great, and it’s nice to see a recipe that isn’t as enriched as most I’ve read.

  9. Gera @ SweetsFoods says:

    Jude so creative bread recipe impossible to not turn out gorgeous!
    Fresh just made and with some cream cheese must be superb.

    Cheers!
    Gera

  10. Irene says:

    I’ve never had soda bread, despite there being 4 Irish pubs within walking distance of my house. Four!!! Cleary, I am missing something here. :)

  11. giz says:

    I would love this bread straight out of the oven with a really cold glass (pint) of Guiness. What more could a person want.

  12. Haley W. says:

    This is going on the table for St. Patrick’s Day – it looks beautiful….delicious, too.

  13. rhyleysgranny says:

    Your bread looks delicious. Try adding an egg sometime. It makes it richer. The cross is to let the fairies out did you know? :)

  14. jo says:

    hmm i haven’t had soda bread before but am sure it’s delicious. and butter and marmalade jam sounds good to me too!

  15. MyKitchenInHalfCups says:

    It’s beautiful. Still, I love it plane.

  16. Manggy says:

    I suppose the four leaf clover resemblance is there :) I’m surprised to see the addition of powdered milk in there. And I thought Westerners never had any problem with straightforward dairy! (Maybe handed down from a war generation?)

  17. noble pig says:

    Nice addition of the whole wheat flour, looks wonderful.

  18. grace says:

    ha–i couldn’t help but giggle myself just reading about spotted dick. :)
    great bread, jude, and happy early st patty’s day!

  19. Lori Lynn says:

    Gee I did not know you are in Chicago, how did I miss that? I’ll be back in a few weeks. Going to L2O for my birthday.
    Your soda bread looks wonderful. Happy St. Paddy’s Day!
    LL

  20. Carolyn Jung says:

    That is one gorgeous loaf of bread. I love how you scored it, too. I can just imagine how tasty this would be with a big, thick shmear of cream cheese. I’d do another mile on the treadmill just for that. ;)

  21. Nancy/n.o.e says:

    I love the sound and the look of this soda bread. I’ve been searching out possible recipes and hoping I get a chance to bake it before Tuesday. I’ll put this on the short list (along with Dan Lepard’s), but not sure I’d add the raisins ;) So beautiful!!

  22. Caroline says:

    Thanks for giving me the giggles, Jude!
    Awesome looking bread, as always.

  23. Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella says:

    Wow, that looks like a mountain ready to be scaled! Well done and I too also have a giggle when I hear Spotted Dick, Cockfosters and Tooting (tube stops) :P

  24. Jo says:

    That looks amazing! And thank you for the info on the flours… very helpful!

  25. Maya says:

    Your bread and some nice cheese and I will be a happy camper.

  26. Kevin says:

    Great looking soda bread!

  27. Hannah says:

    A four leaf clover soda bread- Can you get a more perfect St. Patrick’s Day food? Looks great!

  28. CookiePie says:

    YUM – that bread looks so hearty and delicious!

  29. Tangled Noodle says:

    That is one beautiful loaf of bread! It wouldn’t make it long out of the oven before I’d completely slather it in butter . . . Kerrygold, natch!

  30. Mansi says:

    gosh, that looks really tempting Jude! thanks for a lovely entry:)

  31. maryann says:

    I usually bake my own every year, but I bought some instead and was so disappointed! Thanks for the recipe. I still have time:)

  32. Squawkfox says:

    Jude – this is a wonderfully delicious looking bread recipe. I don’t know how you do it. Yummylicious.

  33. Recipe Box for March 16 2009 | Fine Diners Club - Ottawa says:

    [...] Traditional Irish Soda Bread [...]

  34. The Duo Dishes says:

    We’re also soda bread newbies. It looks like it’s tasty. The raisins would be a nice addition too to sweeten it up!

  35. Natashya says:

    I love how dark it is! I have only made white ones. I will definitely try a dark on this year.

  36. PG says:

    wonderful! How i would love to bite into this.
    I’m always afraid to come here and fine these lovely bread recipes. But, since a couple of months I know of my son’s allergies and now I can’t even think of trying out these. Not that they look as easy to me. I don’t have a good hand at it. Somehow since then I have totally lost interest in baking breads. I think have to summon up some courage to bake gluten free.

  37. Jescel says:

    i guess, i’m not the only one giggling here reading about spotted dick :o D i’ve never had irish soda bread before. i honestly thought the bread itself had soda! LOL.

  38. Nick says:

    Excellent recipe and great tips. I’ve only got traditional whole wheat on hand but still worth a shot. Great tips too, I’m unsure why I don’t make it here more often!

  39. Jenni says:

    Your soda bread is lovely. I would giggle, too, if I wrote “spotted dick.” I’m very mature that way:)

    Like my soda bread w/caraway seeds. Mmmm.

  40. kellypea says:

    This is quite the loaf of soda bread. I needed this a couple of days ago — I went non-traditional with mine this year, but yours has me wanting the real thing. Great recipe!

  41. Audax Artifex says:

    What a lovely idea and your soda bread looks exactly right. In fact they isn’t that much soda bread available in Dublin last time I was there and had to make it myself. Great simple recipe also.

  42. Girl Japan, it’s a beat up silicone mat.

    Aparna, thanks for letting me know. I had just submitted it for bread baking day.

    Lori Lynn, that’s a damn nice birthday dinner. Have fun!

    PG, must be so challenging to bake gluten-free things. Good luck if you ever decide to get into it!

    Thanks everyone!

  43. Mrs. L says:

    Irish soda bread was on my list of things to make yesterday until I decided it would be easier to just go over to a friends house for dinner instead of cooking the whole meal myself :) . I’ll keep this recipe in mind for next year.

  44. Elle says:

    That looks really good! Recently found that King Arthur Flours has a flour that they call wholemeal and recommend for brown bread.

  45. The irish Baker says:

    The “cross” on the top of the bread is to let the fairies out… part of the Irish folklore! http://irishbaker.blogspot.com/2006/12/sign-of-cross.html

  46. not provided says:

    im going to make this for a social studies report on ireland ill tell you guys about it and how good/bad it was after the report this friday kk so thats all oh and whish me luck
    -not provided

  47. not provided says:

    wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwoooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

  48. Eimear says:

    Just a little input from Dublin! Brown soda bread should never have raisins/fruit in it, they only go into white, which is sweeter. And we never call any bread Spotted Dick, that’s strictly an English thing! They’re simply brown or white sodas.

    The BEST thing to eat this with is salted real butter. Delicious! Oh, and if you find the crust is too hard when it comes out of the oven, cover it with a damp tea-towel for half an hour, it’ll soften it right up.

    Loving your blog, btw.

  49. Paula King says:

    Great recipe! I started with Odlum’s Irish Whole Meal Extra Course, which is avavlable on line at a reasonable price. I then added 1/2 cup wheat germ and increased the buttermilk by 1/4 cup. Turned out perfect! And to answer your question: “Is Irish soda bread supposed to look like a four-leaf clover?” The answer is no. The 4 leaf clover is not Irish, the Shamrock with 3 leaves is Irish, used by St. Patrick to teach the Trinity. The shape on top of the bread is obviously to allow it to rise w/o bursting but also said to be a cross so as to bless each loaf. 4 leaf clovers are an American thing, not Irish.

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