Easy Irish Soda Bread


Nik Sharma

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Easy Irish Soda Bread

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This easy recipe for Irish soda bread relies on a few pantry staples. This bread is closer to the original Irish one and doesn’t use sugar, eggs, or raisins like some Irish-American versions. According to Irish folklore, the “X” mark cut on top of the dough before it is baked helps let the fairies out. I use kefir, which is an excellent substitute for buttermilk. 

  • Yield: 6 to 8


4 cups/560 g all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp fine sea salt

4 oz/115 g unsalted butter, chilled and cubed

1 1/2 cups/360 ml plain kefir or buttermilk


  1. Preheat the oven to 400F/200C.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, dry whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Mix the butter into the dough using a pastry cutter or fork. The butter should turn into small pea-sized pieces.
  4. Add a well in the center and stir in the buttermilk with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula. Knead slightly to form a sticky dough (it won’t be wet). Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and shape it into a large ball. Transfer the dough to a baking sheet. Using a sharp knife, make a shallow X-shape in the center of the dough. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, rotating halfway through during cooking. The top will be crisp and golden brown, and the bread will be firm to the touch. The internal temperature should be 200F/95C. Remove and transfer to a wire rack to cool for at least 30 minutes before eating. This bread is best eaten within 2 to 3 days of making—stored at room temperature.


  • I use 1% low-fat plain Lifeway kefir.
  • I used the same technique to make biscuits, incorporating the butter into the flour with a pastry cutter. You can also use a food processor fitted with a dough blade, but be careful to pulse for a few seconds at a time; it’s easy to overwork the dough.

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