Hearty Irish soda bread is easy to make. It's welcome any time of year but is essential on St. Patrick's Day.

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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Mix milk and vinegar in a small bowl, and let stand until thickened, about 5 minutes.

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  • Whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl. Cut in unsalted butter with a pastry cutter or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add bran, caraway seeds, and raisins; stir to distribute.

  • Pour milk mixture into flour mixture; stir until dough just holds together but is still sticky. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Pat and press the dough gently into a round, dome-shaped loaf, about 7 inches in diameter. Transfer to prepared sheet.

  • Lightly dust top of loaf with flour. With a sharp knife, cut an X into the top, 3/4 inch deep. Bake, rotating halfway through, until loaf is golden brown and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour, 10 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. Soda bread is best eaten the day it is made; serve with salted butter.

Reviews (25)

170 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 25
  • 4 star values: 18
  • 3 star values: 77
  • 2 star values: 38
  • 1 star values: 12
Rating: 5 stars
05/07/2018
Adjustments: Replaced whole milk with 1% milk; used half the amount of course salt (pink Himalayan), used an extra teaspoon of butter because the milk was 1% and not whole, and replaced the wheat bran with flax meal, all else the same. We ate the bread after it cooled for 20 minutes. We thought it was tasty with nice texture. My last experience with Irish Soda Bread was in my grandparents kitchen in the early 1980s-it was always on the dry side back then, but I was eating it 2 days old. This one I thought tasted great and can't wait to make it again.
Rating: Unrated
03/09/2013
My Gran would probably say that was 'a bit fancy' for proper soda! Here's the family ressup: 1lb plain flour 1 tsp soda 1 tspn salt 1 tsp sugar buttermilk Mix the dry with your hands (no spoons! good bread goes straight to the heart and a mother always holds her family's hearts in her hands) add enough buttermilk to make a soft, not overly mixed dough. Knead gently into a rough round and mark a cross on top (Give us this day our daily bread). Bake 15 mins at 230C and 30 mins at 200C. Sláinte!!
Rating: Unrated
03/14/2012
"The Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread at www.sodabread.info points out strenuously that real soda bread was plain day-to-day food and had no embellishments at all... Common variations of soda bread containing sugar, butter or anyfat, eggs or dried fruit, they say, do not qualify as soda bread but are more properly referred to as fruit bread, spotted dog or railway cake." My Irish Grandmother loved real soda bread.. no embellishments.. slathered in butter.
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Rating: Unrated
03/08/2012
You can use any acid, like lemon juice to thicken milk. I always use buttermilk because that's what my family in Accony, Co Mayo always do. And omit the bran- totally not authentic. My mam likes carroway seeds; I do not. The "X" in the soda bread allows for expansion while baking but, of course, is not an X. but a cross, because the cross will keep the Devil away. Back on the auld sod, raisins were not always easy or cheap to come by so often this bread was made with none at all.
Rating: Unrated
03/10/2011
I, too, have been making soda bread with buttermilk for many years. I use vegetable oil instead of butter. Always comes out great, and I love it with caraway and raisins.
Rating: Unrated
03/03/2011
Been making Soda Bread for 30 years. No butter or raisins. Also buttermilk is used. Raisins are added to give variety but not on a daily basis. The cider vinegar added to the milk is a substitute for buttermilk. Soda Bread can be served with crispy rashers of Bacon and that is delicious. Katy Morag
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Rating: Unrated
10/12/2010
I really liked this. It's very different from my family recipe, but I love how it is sort of humbler and more peasant like. You can see my results here: http://marthaandme.wordpress.com/2009/03/17/st-pattys-day-blowout/
Rating: Unrated
03/11/2010
I would love to have irlandaca's recipe for Irish soda bread. Can we send emails to each other?
Rating: Unrated
03/10/2010
:( Irish soda bread has absolutey no butter in it, and no baking powder either. The caraway seeds and the raisins were used only very sparingly as a treat, but they are not traditional either...
Rating: Unrated
03/10/2010
:( Irish soda bread has absolutey no butter in it, and no baking powder either. The caraway seeds and the raisins were used only very sparingly as a treat, but they are not traditional either...
Rating: Unrated
03/02/2010
Why the dough was too sticky to handle?
Rating: Unrated
03/18/2009
Very impressed in our house, full of flavor!
Rating: Unrated
03/18/2009
Apparently this bread is really versatile too! I didn't have wheat bran, so I substituted a cup of rolled oats, and used cardamom in place of caraway, and it still turned out great! Mine was too salty, but I didn't think to decrease the salt since I was using salted butter. Otherwise it sounds like you can't make a bad batch of this bread!
Rating: Unrated
03/18/2009
This is a fantastic bread! Yeast Free! Kneed Free! and I made mine Dairy Free. I'm allergic to cow Milk so I used unsweetened vanilla Almond Milk the very same way and non dairy butter. I didn't have wheat bran and just used wheat flour and didn't used raisins... the caraway seeds are a MUST! Delicious!!!! Thanks Martha Team!!!
Rating: Unrated
03/17/2009
This recipe is so easy! and delicious! Thanks greenEm as well- I used the flax instead and it was perfect! I did not add raisins or cranberries, and it was still delicious!
Rating: Unrated
03/15/2009
Yummy- this bread is very good! I made a couple changes- I used ground flax seed instead of the bran and cranberries instead of raisins ( do not care for raisins)
Rating: Unrated
03/13/2009
Martha also has this soda bread recipe without raisins: http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/favorite-irish-soda-bread?rsc=also_try
Rating: Unrated
03/13/2009
My usual recipe for soda bread has raisins in it.
Rating: Unrated
03/13/2009
My sister in law is from Ireland. She and her sisters (all 9 of them) make the best soda bread and scones, that I have ever eaten. She does use raisins, but not a cup full. She sprinkles a couple of handfuls and that's it. Also, plain white flour. None of this healthy bran stuff. No caraway seeds either. And here's the funny thing. No butter. She and her sister use margarine. Maybe it's all they could afford, but I figure (and they must think this way too) don't mess with success.
Rating: Unrated
03/13/2009
Did anyone make this recipe with OR without the raisins and was it good?
Rating: Unrated
03/10/2009
SaraAutumn: So leave the raisins out! I use candied fruit like you use in fruitcake.
Rating: Unrated
03/10/2009
SaraAutumn: So leave the raisins out! I use candied fruit like you use in fruitcake.
Rating: Unrated
03/09/2009
I am SOOOO tired of Irish Soda Bread recipes with raisins! When I lived in Ireland not one loaf did I buy on a day to day basis that had raisins in it. The only time of year that soda bread had raisins (and little charms) in it was at Halloween and it was called "Barmbrack." Please, there are no raisins in daily soda bread!
Rating: Unrated
03/09/2009
I am SOOOO tired of Irish Soda Bread recipes with raisins! When I lived in Ireland not one loaf did I buy on a day to day basis that had raisins in it. The only time of year that soda bread had raisins (and little charms) in it was at Halloween and it was called "Barmbrack." Please, there are no raisins in daily soda bread!
Rating: Unrated
03/09/2009
I pre-tested this recipe before my upcoming St. Patrick's Day dinner. I couldn't find unprocessed wheat bran. What would be a substitute?