Irish Soda Bread – A Recipe & A Little History

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

I don’t know about you, but I love St. Patrick’s Day. I’ve got some Irish in my blood and since I’m a redhead I look pretty good in the color green, so it only makes sense that I’d look forward to March 17th every year. While I’ll proudly be wearing all the green clothes I can find in my wardrobe and I might even make this chocolate cake with green frosting just for fun, I don’t have any special meal traditions. I think I’ll probably throw together a super easy Shepherd’s Pie, pour my husband a Guinness beer, and bake a loaf of the easiest Irish Soda Bread in the whole wide world.

Did you know that Irish Soda Bread gets its name from one of the most important ingredients, which is baking soda? Since Irish Soda Bread is meant to be made and served without a lot of fuss it doesn’t contain any yeast (hence the importance of the baking soda), which is one of my favorite things about it to be perfectly honest. Historically the Irish literally make a loaf every couple of days (more often if they have unexpected house guests), so having a practical recipe that can go from prep to table pretty quickly just makes sense. Personally, I love that it takes barely any time at all to mix the ingredients and get them into the oven and I really love how rustic this bread is when it’s done baking. Ooh, I have another fun fact. Did you know that this easy no-fuss bread is meant to include just a few ingredients and the Irish don’t include add-ins like currants and/or raisins? Nope, that was totally something Americans did as a way of enhancing what is a perfectly fine bread all on its own. Don’t get me wrong, there is one little addition I make to my Irish Soda Bread, but it’s subtle while adding just a touch of freshness and my entire family loves it a whole lot. I have a pretty good feeling you and your family would love it, too, and the best part is that you probably already have most (if not all) of the ingredients in your kitchen right now.

Irish Soda Bread

Here’s what you need: (makes one small loaf that easily served my family of 4)

  • 1 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup White Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • About 3/4 Cup Buttermilk
  • 1 small Egg
  • Zest of 1 Orange

Here is what you need to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, salt, and brown sugar and stir.
  3. Add the buttermilk, egg, and orange zest and stir until the mixture forms into a soft dough.
  4. Remove the dough from bowl and knead on a floured counter top just until all ingredients are combined.
  5. Form the dough into a ball and place on a greased cookie sheet.
  6. Cook for 40-45 minutes or until a perfect shade of golden brown.
  7. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes, slice, slather with butter, and serve.
  8. Enjoy!

See? It’s totally one of the easiest breads you’ll ever make and probably one of the tastiest, too. Now tell me. What’s your favorite thing to make, do, or eat on St. Patrick’s Day?



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  2. I’ve never made it with orange zest! I’ll have to try that. I bet lemon zest would be good, too. Lime zest may be interesting for St. Paddy’s day.
    Alicia Taylor recently posted..How to Make Spring No-Sew Photo Mosaic PlacematsMy Profile

    • The orange zest brings the perfect amount of freshness without being too overpowering. Definitely try it sometime. 🙂

  3. Rebecca Bryant says

    I love me some Irish soda bread. any bread that is crusty is my favorite, especially on soup night.

    • That’s what’s so great about this bread. It CAN be made and enjoyed any time of year and would go perfectly with a bowl of hot soup.

  4. Catherine Sargent says

    This looks so yummy. I don’t think I have ever had Irish Soda Bread, but I would love to try it. Thanks for the recipe.

  5. Reesa Lewandowski says

    I adore Irish Soda Bread. It’s perfect warm with salted butter!!!

  6. I enjoy Irish Soda bread but have to admit, I have never made it! I am not sure why, it does seem like an easy recipe. I love the addition of orange zest.

  7. My son loves soda bread! I have never made it myself, but I’d love too try! Thanks for the history!

  8. I love Irish soda bread although I’ve never tried making it myself. That looks so good, and I think I could eat that whole loaf!
    Lois Alter Mark recently chromecast audio means music everywhere!My Profile

  9. I did not know about the baking soda. That is knowledge to me. I always hear folks talking about making soda bread. St pattys day is in a few days. Hope it will be a nice day!

    • I love history, don’t you? 🙂 You should totally make a loaf of Irish Soda Bread and then eat the whole darn thing…if you want to.

  10. This is something my mom always makes for St. Patrick’s Day. So yummy!

  11. oooh i bet the orange zest MAKES it. That little fresh hint of citrus sounds great.

  12. I love that St. Patrick’s Day is on a Friday this year so we can have a fun dinner and actually celebrate. This soda bread sounds like a great addition to our holiday meal.

    • I love that it’s on Friday, too. This would totally make a wonderful addition to your meal. Everyone will think you worked harder than you actually did and it will taste yummy, too.

  13. I looove Irish Soda Bread. It’s perfect warm with EVOO dip or butter! Yummy!

  14. Irish soda bread is one of my favorite. My husband like it so much.

  15. This recipe looks easy to make. I have never tried Irish food, but I am sure they taste awesome. Will start with this one.

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