Speedy Soda Bread

PREP TIME: 10mins


One of the first breads I baked and still one that I love. I have a dear (and very entertaining) Irish friend who once told me my loaf comes close to his mothers, and that is good enough for me.

You can impress anyone by just quickly whipping up this delicious bread as it requires no rising time, a fail-safe for those days when you realise too late that the bread bin is empty!

Best eaten straight from the oven but leftover bread makes good toast the following day and lovely croutons too.

Makes 1 a smallish loaf – recipe can easily be doubled for a larger loaf (as pictured)

Getting Ahead: When on holiday, I pre-measure all the dry ingredients together into plastic bags, ready to add the butter and buttermilk. I can rustle up a fresh loaf in no time!

Swaps: No Buttermilk? Just add 2 tablespoons of  lemon juice or white wine vinegar to milk and leave for 15 minutes.



Serving Suggestion:

A soda bread is made for spreading lots of good butter on and watching as it melts into the warmed slice, pure bliss. Also lovely with a good fig jam or a good helping of thickly cut strong and mature cheddar.

What you'll need:

Flat Baking Tray

Wooden Spoon with a thickish handle



  1. 250g of plain flour (extra for dusting)
  2. 250g of wholemeal flour
  3. 7g salt (1 + 1/2 teaspoons of salt)
  4. 2 teaspoons bicarb of soda
  5. 1 tablespoon castor sugar
  6. 50g unsalted butter cut into cubes
  7. 300/350ml buttermilk *



  1. Heat your oven to 190c and lightly flour a baking tray.
  2. Sift the flours, salt, bicarb and sugar into a large bowl and add back any bran (from the wholewheat flour) still left in the sieve.
  3. Rub the butter with your fingertips, into the flour mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  4. Add just enough buttermilk (you might not need it all) to make a soft dough.
  5. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet and with minimum handling bring the dough together with your hands to form a round loaf shape.
  6. With a floured wooden spoon handle, make a dent 2cm deep, in the shape of a cross, on the top of the bread (see picture).
  7. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes until the soda bread has risen and is golden brown with no greyness in the cross. Tap the bread you want to hear a hollow sound.
  8. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Kitchen Notes:


The reason we are trying to be quick here is when the dried bread ingredients (alkaline) mixes with the wet ingredients (acid) the raising agent (i.e the bicarb) will start working. Ideally we want to have this bread in the oven as quickly as possible before the bicarb finishes is rising magic. Soda Bread will only rise a little as it does not contain any yeast.



Kitchen Story:


PS: For some bazaar reason I love my Irish Soda Bread with Bovril Butter, this was off course before I knew what went in it! I will just have to look for a veggie umami substitute and don’t even mention the M word or worse the V word – I made my choice many years ago : )

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