Authentic Irish White Bread Recipe for Bakers

The aroma of freshly baked bread fills me with nostalgia, reminding me of childhood days spent in the kitchen with my grandmother. Among the many recipes she taught me, the traditional Irish White Bread has a special place in my heart. This recipe is a classic example of how simple ingredients can come together to create something that is both delicious and satisfying.

What distinguishes this bread from other types of bread is its unique texture, a result of the reaction between soda and buttermilk. The combination leads to small bubbles forming, which release carbon dioxide when baked, giving the bread its signature airy texture. It’s not only vegan-friendly, but it’s also perfect for those who seek a no-yeast bread option.

As for flavor, you can expect nothing but goodness. This bread is hearty yet light and can be served with anything from soup and butter to jam or marmite—the possibilities are endless!

Get ready to embark on a baking journey that will see you create a batch loaf so deliciously soft inside and crusty outside that people will keep coming back for more. Time to roll up your sleeves, put on an apron, and try this traditional Irish white bread recipe yourself!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Traditional Irish White Bread
Traditional Irish White Bread

Are you looking for a bread recipe that is quick, easy, and delicious? If so, look no further than this traditional Irish white bread recipe! This recipe is perfect for those who want to enjoy a homemade loaf of bread but don’t have the time or patience for yeast bread.

One of the reasons you’ll love this recipe is because it only requires a few simple ingredients. All you need is flour, baking soda, salt, buttermilk, and an egg. That’s it! No need to run to the store to buy fancy ingredients or wait around for dough to rise.

Another reason you’ll love this recipe is for the unique texture it creates. The reaction between the baking soda and buttermilk forms small bubbles of carbon dioxide which give the bread its signature light and fluffy texture. It’s unlike any other bread you’ve tried before!

This Irish white soda bread is also very versatile and can be served with a variety of dishes. Pair it with soups, stews, or just slather on some butter and jam for breakfast. You won’t be disappointed!

In addition, this recipe is an excellent option for those with dietary restrictions. It contains no yeast or sugar and can easily be made gluten-free by using a gluten-free flour blend.

Finally, this traditional Irish white bread recipe offers a unique cultural experience that will transport your taste buds straight to Ireland. As you take a bite of this bread, you’ll feel like you’re sitting in a cozy Irish pub enjoying a freshly baked loaf with some good company.

So grab your apron and get ready to impress your taste buds with this amazing traditional Irish white bread recipe!

Ingredient List

 Golden-crusted warm bread fresh from the oven, ready to be enjoyed!
Golden-crusted warm bread fresh from the oven, ready to be enjoyed!

Let’s dive into the ingredient list for this Traditional Irish White Bread Recipe. The simplicity of this recipe is part of its charm, as it uses basic staples you probably already have in your pantry. To make one loaf you will need:


  • 4 cups (450 g) plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (360 ml) buttermilk (traditional Irish buttermilk is preferred for authentic flavor)

You may be surprised that there is no yeast in this recipe! Instead, the reaction between the baking soda and the acidic buttermilk creates small bubbles of carbon dioxide that make the bread rise.

The Recipe How-To

 The perfect white bread recipe for a comforting and cozy meal.
The perfect white bread recipe for a comforting and cozy meal.

Now, onto the most crucial part of this traditional Irish white bread recipe – the how-to. Before you dive in, a few key reminders: make sure your hands and work surface are clean, your oven temperature is accurate, and all of your ingredients are at room temperature.

Preparing the Dough
Step 1 – Preheat Oven

Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C).

Step 2 – Mix Dry Ingredients

Get a large bowl and combine 4 cups (500g) of flour, 1 teaspoon (6g) of salt, and 1 teaspoon (6g) of baking soda. Make sure to mix these ingredients well for even distribution.

Step 3 – Cutting in the Butter

Now it’s time to cut in the butter. Take 1/4 cup (57g) of cold butter and cut it into small pieces using a pastry blender or two forks until it becomes a coarse mixture.

Step 4 – Mixing Wet Ingredients

In another bowl, whisk together 1 egg and 1 and 3/4 cups (414ml) of buttermilk.

Step 5 – Combining Wet and Dry Mixtures

Make a well in the center of your dry mixture and pour your wet mixture in. Incorporate all ingredients together without over mixing by using your hands, just until everything comes together.

Step 6 – Shaping Dough

Turn out the dough on a lightly floured surface; sprinkle flour on top and start shaping it into a round form with a flat top.

Step 7 – Adding Caraway Seeds

Optional: You can add caraway seeds or any twist you like to give an authentic Irish touch. Form in with an X-mark on top with a sharp knife.

Step 8 – Begin Baking

Place the dough in a greased 9-inch (23cm) cast-iron skillet or a baking sheet. Place in preheated oven on the middle rack and bake for 45-50 minutes.

Step 9 – Finalization

Using a thermometer, test if the bread is fully cooked by inserting it in the center of your bread; it should read at least 190°F (88°C).

Step 10 – Melting Butter

Melt some butter to brush the top of your bread. This simple move adds flavor, keeping the crust soft and pliable.

Step 11 – Cooling before serving

Cool on a wire rack before slicing into this hearty goodness. Enjoy with a slather of butter or some raspberry jam.

Note that traditional Irish Soda bread does not use yeast as a rising agent, so we rely on the reaction between baking soda and buttermilk to give our bread its unique texture.

Substitutions and Variations

 A slice of this bread is like a warm hug on a cold day.
A slice of this bread is like a warm hug on a cold day.

Are you looking to put your own spin on this traditional Irish white bread recipe? Here are some substitutions and variations to consider:

– Whole Wheat Flour: For a healthier twist, try substituting half of the white flour with whole wheat flour. This will add some fiber and nutrients to the bread without sacrificing taste.

– Buttermilk Alternatives: If you can’t find traditional buttermilk, you can make your own by combining milk with either lemon juice or vinegar. For a vegan option, try using almond or soy milk combined with lemon juice.

– Savory Additions: Consider adding in some caraway seeds or chopped herbs like rosemary or thyme to give the bread a unique flavor. You could also sprinkle some grated cheese on top before baking for a delicious cheesy crust.

– Sweet Additions: If you prefer a sweeter bread, try adding in some raisins and a sprinkle of cinnamon to the dough before baking. You could also drizzle some honey or maple syrup on top after the bread has baked for an extra touch of sweetness.

– Baking Powder: If you don’t have any baking soda on hand, you can use baking powder instead. However, keep in mind that this will change the texture of the bread slightly as it will not have the same reaction with the buttermilk resulting in smaller bubbles of carbon dioxide.

Whether you decide to try out one of these substitutions or variations or stick to the traditional recipe, this Irish soda bread is sure to be a hit. So go ahead and experiment – who knows, you might even come up with your own signature recipe!

Serving and Pairing

 Light, fluffy, and delicious, it's hard to settle for just one slice!
Light, fluffy, and delicious, it’s hard to settle for just one slice!

Once you’ve baked your delicious Traditional Irish White Bread, it’s time to enjoy it and share it with your loved ones. This bread is best served warm and fresh out of the oven. The unique texture of this bread, resulting from the reaction of baking soda and buttermilk, ensures a delightful sensory experience.

One of the best ways to serve Traditional Irish White Bread is by accompanying it with butter or jam or honey. These additions not only enhance its flavor but also give it an exquisite aroma. Its subtle sweetness and smooth texture pair perfectly with any sweet spread you prefer.

Also, Traditional Irish White Bread works wonders in sandwiches. Its density allows it to hold together without breaking or going soggy. In Ireland, soda bread is often served alongside a hearty stew or soup as a staple food item.

This bread is quite versatile and can be incorporated into various meals. It serves as a perfect breakfast bread as well. You can toast it or grate cheese over it to create a savory snack or enjoy it plain with a cup of tea.

To complement the flavors of the Traditional Irish White Bread, you can pair it with beer; stout complements its taste particularly well. For those who prefer wine, a dry red wine such as Pinot Noir also works great.

In conclusion, this recipe’s versatility ensures that you can enjoy this Irish Soda Bread in different ways and for different occasions whether on its own or paired with other flavorful dishes.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 The aroma of freshly baked bread wafting through the kitchen - pure bliss.
The aroma of freshly baked bread wafting through the kitchen – pure bliss.

Traditional White Irish Soda Bread is a delightful loaf that can be made ahead and stored for later consumption. To store this bread, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, and keep it in a cool, dry place. This bread can last for up to three days at room temperature.

If you plan on storing the bread for longer than three days, consider freezing it to preserve its freshness. First, let the loaf cool completely, then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and place it in an airtight container. The bread can be frozen for up to three months.

When reheating this bread, place the wrapped loaf in a 350°F oven for about 10 minutes or until it is heated through. You may also opt to slice the bread before reheating it in a toaster oven or microwave.

If you have leftover buttermilk, you can store it in the fridge for up to one week. Alternatively, buttermilk can be frozen for future use! Just pour the leftover buttermilk into an ice cube tray and freeze. Once the cubes are frozen, transfer them to an airtight container and store in the freezer for up to three months.

By being mindful of storage practices and leftovers, you can ensure that your Traditional White Irish Soda Bread tastes fresh and delicious no matter when you choose to enjoy it.

Tips for Perfect Results

 Nothing like starting your day with some freshly toasted white bread and jam!
Nothing like starting your day with some freshly toasted white bread and jam!

When it comes to making Traditional Irish White Bread, there are a number of tips and tricks that can help ensure you get the perfect result every time. Here are some of the key things to keep in mind when preparing your dough.

First and foremost, it’s important to use fresh ingredients. Make sure your flour, buttermilk, and baking soda are all within their best-by dates, as stale ingredients can affect the texture and rise of your bread.

When mixing your ingredients, be sure not to overwork the dough. Unlike yeast bread, which benefits from kneading, soda bread is best when barely mixed together. This helps prevent the formation of tough gluten strands and ensures a tender crumb.

Another important factor in achieving the unique texture and taste of Irish soda bread is the reaction between the baking soda and acidic buttermilk. To maximize this reaction, be sure to mix your dry ingredients thoroughly before adding in the buttermilk, which should be added slowly as you mix.

Finally, for a truly traditional touch, consider adding in some caraway seeds to your dough. This fragrant spice adds a subtle sweetness to your bread and is a classic ingredient in Irish soda bread.

By following these tips and tricks, you’ll be well on your way to creating a delicious batch of Traditional Irish White Bread that would make any Irish grandmother proud.


Now that we’ve gone through the recipe and its variations, as well as serving and pairing suggestions, it’s natural to have a few questions about Traditional Irish White Bread Recipe. To make sure that you’ll have a great experience in baking this bread and serving it to your loved ones, we’ve compiled some commonly asked questions and provided you with their answers so that you can bake this bread with confidence.

What is the traditional bread in Ireland?

In Ireland, one of the most popular and tastiest breads is the Irish wheaten or “Brown Bread”. This type of traditional bread is very common and can be found in almost every household on the island. It is also known for its versatility as it can go well with a wide variety of menu items.

What makes Irish bread different?

In creating this bread, a chemical reaction between an acid and baking soda is responsible for its distinct texture. This causes the dough to contain tiny pockets of carbon dioxide bubbles.

What is the key ingredient in Irish soda bread that makes it different from other breads?

Soda bread’s one-of-a-kind texture owes itself to the combination of sour milk’s acidity and baking soda that produces a multitude of tiny carbon dioxide bubbles, which pervades the dough. The shape of soda bread, too, has been passed down through the ages.

What is the difference between Irish soda bread and regular bread?

When people in the US refer to Irish soda bread, they generally envision a slightly sweet white bread delicately flavored with caraway seeds and raisins. The bread is leavened using baking soda, which replaces traditional yeast and the dough is shaped rather than kneaded.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, the traditional Irish white bread recipe is a must-try for all bread lovers out there. With its unique texture and taste, it will surely impress your taste buds. This bread is perfect for any occasion, whether you want to serve it as a snack or in a sandwich.

Making this delicious bread is easy, and with the right ingredients and instructions, anyone can do it. But don’t just take my word for it, try it yourself and see why this bread recipe has been a staple in Irish households for generations.

So go ahead and give this recipe a shot. You won’t be disappointed. And if you’re feeling adventurous, try out some of the substitutions and variations mentioned earlier to take your tradition Irish white bread to the next level.

Remember, food isn’t just about nourishment; it’s also about experiencing new tastes and creating memories with loved ones. So let this traditional Irish white bread recipe bring those experiences and memories to your table today!

Traditional Irish White Bread

Traditional Irish White Bread Recipe

From Muckross House's Traditional Irish Farm in Killarney, Ireland.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Irish
Keyword < 4 Hours, Breads, Easy, European, Healthy, Low Cholesterol
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings 12 pieces
Calories 149.1kcal


  • 1 lb white flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 ounces buttermilk


  • Preheat oven to 425F (200C).
  • Sieve dry ingredients.
  • Pour milk into a well in the dry ingredients.
  • Blend and knead bread until smooth.
  • Place in warm dusted dutch oven with flour.
  • Bake for 20 mins at temperature, then reduce heat to 350F (180C) for another 20 mins.


Serving: 67g | Calories: 149.1kcal | Carbohydrates: 30.2g | Protein: 4.8g | Fat: 0.6g | Saturated Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 1.1mg | Sodium: 232.5mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1.5g

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