Sliced bread next to a black countertop appliance

What Is Soda Bread, and How Do You Make It?

Originating in Ireland, soda bread is a versatile and delicious variety of "quick bread," a type of bread made without yeast. Instead, Irish soda bread is prepared with baking soda, making the recipe a simple way to explore breadmaking techniques and add new dishes to your repertoire.

While traditional Irish soda bread recipes typically stick to the four core ingredients of flour, salt, baking soda and buttermilk, some Irish-American versions of soda bread incorporate additions like raisins, seeds or chocolate. Learn this recipe for traditional Irish soda bread to familiarize yourself with “quick breads” and develop your own take on this warm and comforting baked creation.

A person slicing bread next to an orange KitchenAid® stand mixer A person slicing bread next to an orange KitchenAid® stand mixer

WHY IS SODA BREAD CALLED “SODA BREAD”?

Soda bread is called "soda bread" in reference to the baking soda that's used in replacement of a leavening agent like yeast. The combination of buttermilk and baking soda used in traditional Irish soda bread recipes creates a chemical reaction that causes the bread to rise as it bakes.

This use of a chemical leavening agent distinguishes "quick breads" like soda bread from other types that rely on yeast to rise, like ciabatta or focaccia.

A loaf of bread next to a red KitchenAid® stand mixer with flat beater accessory A loaf of bread next to a red KitchenAid® stand mixer with flat beater accessory

TRADITIONAL IRISH SODA BREAD RECIPE

Managing a leavening agent like yeast can involve multiple steps, so making this recipe for traditional Irish soda bread a great way to start learning about the versatility of “quick bread.” Learn how to make this homemade, no-yeast bread with your stand mixer for a tasty breakfast or snack.

YIELDS

1 loaf of Irish soda bread

INGREDIENTS
  • Unsalted butter

  • Flour

  • Sugar

  • Baking soda

  • Salt

  • Buttermilk

  • Egg

PREP TIME
  • 10 minutes

BAKE TIME
  • 60 minutes

TOTAL TIME
  • 70 minutes

A person buttering a bread pan

STEP 1: PREP

Preheat the oven. Quick breads are generally baked at 375 ℉, but this can vary so be sure to check your recipe. Grease the bottom of a baking sheet, or if using the KitchenAid® Bread Bowl with Baking Lid, attach the bowl to your stand mixer. Line the inside of the lid with a round of parchment paper.

A person scraping flour into an orange KitchenAid® stand mixer bowl

STEP 2: MIX THE DRY INGREDIENTS

Place the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt into the bowl of your stand mixer. Combine the ingredients using the wire whip accessory.

A person holding squares of butter and a rubber spatula

STEP 3: ADD THE BUTTER, BUTTERMILK AND EGG

Add squares of softened butter to the mixer bowl. Replace the wire whip accessory on your stand mixer with the flat beater accessory. Mix gently until the butter combines with the flour mixture.

 

Whisk the buttermilk and egg in a separate bowl. Replace the flat beater accessory on your stand mixer with the dough hook accessory. Slowly pour the buttermilk mixture into the stand mixer bowl and mix until the dough forms.

A man scoring raw bread loaves

STEP 4: KNEAD AND SHAPE THE DOUGH

Remove the dough from the mixing bowl. Add a small amount of flour and gently knead the ball by hand until the dough is no longer sticky. Place the dough on the greased baking sheet. If using the KitchenAid® Bread Bowl with Baking Lid, form the dough into a round shape and place on top of the parchment paper lined baking lid. For both methods, cut an “X” into the top with a scoring knife.

A freshly baked loaf of bread

STEP 5: BAKE THE BREAD

Cover the dough with the bread bowl if using. Remove the lid about halfway through. Bake until the outside is crispy and the center is no longer doughy, about one hour total.

SHOP KITCHENAID® STAND MIXERS FOR MAKING SODA BREAD

A red KitchenAid® stand mixer amongst a food scale and various baking ingredients A red KitchenAid® stand mixer amongst a food scale and various baking ingredients

IS IRISH SODA BREAD HEALTHY?

For those restricted to varieties of non-yeast bread and baked goods, Irish soda bread can be a good alternative to other foods that use biological leavening agents to rise as they cook, such as cakes, muffins, cookies and biscuits.

You can also get creative and adapt traditional recipes for Irish soda bread with healthy vegan or gluten-free options. For a buttermilk substitute, experiment with vegan alternatives like soy or almond milk to give the desired texture to your soda bread. You can also explore gluten-free types of flour like almond or buckwheat for those with gluten sensitivities.

CAN I FREEZE IRISH SODA BREAD?

While traditional Irish soda bread is best enjoyed fresh and warm from the oven, you can freeze your bread for around three months.

Before placing any meal, snack or baked good in the freezer, prepare your culinary creations for storage to best preserve their taste and texture. To freeze your soda bread, allow the loaf to cool completely and wrap it tightly before placing it in the freezer.

A loaf of bread with chocolate chips baked inside A loaf of bread with chocolate chips baked inside

WHAT SHOULD I SERVE WITH IRISH SODA BREAD?

While you may need to adapt baking instructions depending on what you choose to add, you can easily spice up the traditional recipe for Irish soda bread according to your taste by experimenting with different pairings, such as with a spread or alongside a warm soup or stew.

The adaptability of soda bread can help you get creative with homemade pairings like spiced pear or strawberry vanilla jams made with your KitchenAid® stand mixer. Try also using your mixer to balance the bright flavors of this lemon zucchini soup with a slice of earthy soda bread or pair two Irish classics with this creamy mushroom stout soup. You can also complement your slice with a bit of butter or enjoy the delicious flavor of plain soda bread made from a recipe with add-ins like fruit and chocolate

FIND THE RIGHT KITCHENAID® STAND MIXER FOR YOUR HOME

The power and versatility of KitchenAid® stand mixers, accessories and attachments can help you reinvent your favorite recipes with confidence. Explore the endless recipe possibilities before you with a stand mixer by KitchenAid brand, from velvety desserts to homemade bread.

DISCOVER MORE BAKING TIPS WITH KITCHENAID BRAND