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Soda Bread (Ireland)


Soda bread is great.  Soda bread is easy.  Soda bread, warm and slathered with creamy salted butter, is heavenly.  It's yeast-free: the reaction between the acidic buttermilk and the baking soda makes the dough rise.  So even I could make this!

Makes one loaf


  • 15 ounces all-purpose flour  (3 cups; 425g)

  • 1 3/4 teaspoons (7g) kosher salt (for table salt, use the same weight or half as much by volume)

  • 1 1/8 teaspoons (6g) baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)

  • 18 ounces low-fat cultured buttermilk (2 1/4 cups; 510g), well shaken



  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 450°F (230°C) at least 15 minutes in advance.

  2. Roughly cover the bottom of a deep 10-inch cast iron or enameled Dutch oven with a sheet of parchment paper.  If it goes up the sides, that's fine.

  3. Combine flour, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl and whisk a full minute to combine.

  4. Stir in buttermilk with a flexible spatula until dough is fully moistened and no pockets of flour remain.

    1. For extra-fluffy results, stop folding as soon as dough comes together.

    2. For extra-chewy results, fold dough about 20 seconds more.

  5. Scrape sticky dough into prepared Dutch oven and smooth with a spatula into a rough boule-like shape.

  6. Score deeply into quarters with a sharp knife or razor, cleaning the blade between each slice.

  7. Cover the Dutch oven and bake until the bread is well risen and golden, 45 minutes.

  8. Remove lid and continue baking until chestnut brown, with an internal temperature of 210°F (99°C), 12 to 15 minutes longer.

  9. Invert onto a wire rack, discard parchment, turn right side up, and cool until crumb has set, about 30 minutes.

  10. Cut thick slices to accompany hearty soups and stews, or slice thinly for sandwiches. (This will be easier if bread is allowed to cool 2 hours more.)

  11. Store up to 24 hours in an airtight container and toast to freshen bread before serving.


Recipe adapted from

Photo by Drew Vahrenkamp

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