Irish soda bread is a traditional Irish bread that was baked by the poorer class of people in Ireland using only basic ingredients and it was used to go along with their soups and stews. It is a very easy bread to make and does not require any kneading at all since it has no yeast. The are many variations of this bread throughout Ireland, probably as many as there are families.
My husband lived in Ireland for many years after college and worked many odd jobs to make a living there since full time jobs are difficult to come by without being a citizen there. While he traveled all around Ireland living in different places, one of his his jobs while living on Cape Clear island was painting fences for a local goat farmer. The husband on the farm tended to the goats and the wife made the most amazing artisinal cheeses from the goats milk. She also had a wonderful recipe of her own for Irish soda bread which she shared with my husband. This soda bread recipe is the recipe that she shared and we all love it and I have made it ever since! It is a little non traditional because it has of some brown sugar and oats and no raisins (like most Irish soda bread does). I think it makes it better!
It is so easy to make and really delicious. It is best served fresh with some butter on top or a thin spread of goat cheese if you have it on hand.
Irish Soda Bread
- 1 1/2 – 1 3/4 cups of buttermilk see directions below
- 1 cup All purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (if you don't have whole wheat flour you can substitute all purpose white flour)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar packed
- 1 1/2 cups oats (old fashioned)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees.
- Get a large dutch oven out and place a sheet of parchment paper inside the dutch oven and set aside. Don't worry if the parchment paper overlaps the dutch oven.
- In a large bowl sift your flours, baking soda and salt. Now add your brown sugar and mix it into the flour mixture. Add your oats and mix that around.
- Now add your buttermilk. The original recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk but I found this was too dry (maybe because it is always so wet in Ireland that breads need less liquids), so I added an additional 1/4 cup of buttermilk so that the dough is moist not crumbly and it came out great. So the total amount of buttermilk I used was 1 3/4 cups.
- After you add your buttermilk mix it well by folding your dough around with a spoon making sure to get all of the flour incorporated into the buttermilk.
- Once that is done, bring your bowl over to your dutch oven and dump the dough right in to it.
- With the back of a spoon or a spatula, smooth out your dough into a round even shape. Score the top of your dough with a very sharp knife into an X pattern making sure to only score halfway through the dough. This is a traditional pattern for Irish soda bread.
- Now place the lid on your dutch oven and place it in your pre-heated oven for 45 minutes.
- After 45 minutes, remove the lid and bake for another 10 minutes to give the bread a nice brown golden crust.
- When done, remove from the oven and take your bread out of the dutch oven and place on a baking rack for 30 minutes to cool.
- With a serrated knife, cut your bread into 1 inch slices. The bread will have a nice hard crust on the top and bottom and the inside will be nice and soft.