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a loaf of Irish soda bread cooking in the cast-iron pan it was baked in
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5 from 1 vote

Irish-ish Soda Bread


  • cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • teaspoons caraway seeds optional
  • 1 cup dried fruit such as currants, raisins, sweetened cranberries and so on optional
  • cup cultured buttermilk (see Note)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh orange zest optional


  • Grease a baking sheet, an 8- to 9-inch glass pie dish or a cast-iron skillet. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • In a large bowl, use a fork to mix together the flour, baking soda, salt and, if using, caraway seeds and dried fruit.
  • If using orange zest, stir it into the buttermilk. Stir the buttermilk into the dry ingredients until combined. The dough will be very sticky. Use your hand to mix in the last bits of flour that you can't stir into the dough.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead only a few times, for less than 1 minute. Pat the dough into a round disk, about 6 inches in diameter and 1½ inches thick.
  • Place the dough disk on the baking sheet, pie dish or cast-iron skillet. With a sharp knife, score an X across the top, cutting into the dough about ½ inch deep.
  • Bake for 45 minutes, until the bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when you tap it on the bottom. Turn the loaf out onto a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
  • Soda bread is at its peak of freshness the day you bake it. When it dries out, enjoy slices dunked in a cup of tea.


If you don't have buttermilk on hand, to "make" 1½ cups of it, place 1½ tablespoons of fresh lemon juice or white vinegar in a measuring cup. Fill the cup with milk up to the 1½ cup mark. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes to thicken and curdle while you assemble the rest of the ingredients for the soda bread.