Irish Soda Bread

Another recipe from Jen at Carlsbad Cravings.


  • 4 1/4 cups (18.75 Oz or 531 Gms) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting (Weigh or MEASURE ACCURATELY – spoon and level)*
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 and ¾ cups buttermilk
  • 1 egg optional, see note
  • 6 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • Optional: 1 cup dried cranberries or raisins
  • Optional: coarse sugar crystals for topping


  1. Prep Oven and Butter: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cube the butter into small pieces and place it in the freezer.
  2. Pick Your Pan: Soda bread can be made in virtually any oven-proof pan that is large enough. Use a seasoned cast iron skillet or line a cast iron skillet with parchment paper, use a parchment-lined baking sheet, a greased or parchment-lined 5-quart Dutch oven (or larger, lid off).
  3. Dry ingredients: Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl.
  4. Buttermilk: Whisk the buttermilk and egg together in a liquid measuring cup. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  5. Cut in Butter: Use a pastry cutter or your fingers to cut the butter into the flour until pea-sized crumbs form. (I start with a pastry cutter, then finish with fingers). Stir in the raisins. Work quickly now to keep the butter chilled, the colder the butter, the less sticky the dough.
  6. Add Buttermilk: Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Pour the chilled buttermilk/egg mixture into the well, then fold together using a stiff spatula or wooden spoon until the dough becomes too difficult to stir.
  7. Form into a Ball: Note, Wetter Dough = Moister Crumb. Lightly flour a work surface. Spray your hands with nonstick spray, then dust them with flour. Transfer the dough to the worksurface and quickly shape into a shaggy ball, kneading lightly if necessary. The dough will be very sticky; sprinkle it with just enough flour to make forming the ball tolerable. Do not add too much flour or over-mix or the bread will be tough.
  8. Make an X: Transfer dough to the prepared pan. Sprinkle with 1-2 tablespoons coarse sugar, if using. Use a knife to score the top with a large, 1/-2 deep “X” in the center.
  9. Bake: Bake in the center of your preheated oven at 400 degrees F for 45-55 minutes, until the center reaches 190 degrees F on an instant read thermometer. I use this digital probe thermometer because it is inserted into the bread while it bakes, so you know exactly when it's time to remove the bread – perfect every time!
  10. Cool: Using oven mitts, immediately transfer the bread to a wire rack to cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing. The bread is rustic and craggly, so don't expect perfect slices!


  • *The most accurate method to measure flour is with a food scale. If you don’t own one then fluff the flour with a spoon, then spoon the flour into the measuring cup. DO NOT scoop the measuring cup into the flour or it will be more compact, and you’ll end up with more flour, AKA dense, dry bread.
  • Storage:  Store soda bread in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days, refrigerate up to one week, or freeze for up to 3 months. Toast leftover slices or wrap in a damp paper and microwave for 8-10 seconds to add moistness back into the bread.
  • Egg:  If omitting, you don’t need to change any other ingredients.