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Classic Soda Bread
Classic Soda Bread
added by Every Day

I frequently turn to soda bread when the bread bin is bare. If there’s nothing for lunch or to serve with soup for supper, it's a quick and simple answer - and sustaining, too. This classic recipe lends itself to endless tweaking and variation. Slot it into your repertoire and you'll never regret it.

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Prep time
  • 15 minutes
Cook Time
  • 40-45 minutes
  • Makes 1 medium loaf
  • * 500g plain flour
  • * 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • * 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • * Approx. 400ml buttermilk or live yoghurt
  • * A little milk, if necessary
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1. Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl and stir in the salt. Make a well in the centre and pour in the buttermilk, stirring as you go. If necessary, add a tablespoon or two of milk to bring the mixture together; it should form a soft dough, just this side of sticky.

2. Tip it out on to a lightly floured work surface and knead lightly for about a minute, just long enough to pull it together into a loose ball but no longer – you need to get it into the oven while the bicarb is still doing its stuff. You're not looking for the kind of smooth, elastic dough you’d get with a yeast-based bread.

3. Put the round of dough on a lightly floured baking sheet and dust generously with flour. Mark a deep cross in it with a sharp, serrated knife, cutting about two-thirds of the way through the loaf. Put it in an oven preheated to 200oC/gas mark 6 and bake for 40-45 minutes, until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped underneath.

4. Cool on a wire rack if you like a crunchy crust, or wrap in a clean tea towel if you prefer a soft crust. Soda bread is best eaten while still warm, spread with salty butter and/or a dollop of your favourite jam. But if you have some left over the next day, it makes great toast.


For six-seed soda bread, mix together 2 tablespoons each of sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, poppy and linseeds, plus 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds; set aside. Follow the main recipe but use half white flour and half wholemeal flour. Add all but 1 tablespoon of the seeds to the dry ingredients before proceeding as above. After cutting a cross in the top of the loaf, brush it with a little buttermilk or ordinary milk and sprinkle with the remaining seeds. Bake at 200oC/gas mark 6 for 40–45 minutes.


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This recipe is taken from River Cottage Every Day, published by Bloomsbury. Buy your copy here >

29 replies
Replied on

Come from a long line of Irish soda bread makers and can say this is a great recipe. I make with sour milk ('gone off' milk)...can keep milk soured in fridge & top up as required for weeks on end. Make mine in a skillet and add sugar to taste.

Replied on

Very quick and easy. Used half buttermilk and half Greek yogurt as that was what I had in. Also used half plain and half whole meal flour with seeds. Loaf went down really well in my house! :)

Replied on

Amazing!!! I'll bake it at 190 next time. The texture and flavour is brilliant. I'll be making it again for sure. Thanks

Replied on

First time baking bread from scratch. It's in the oven now. 200 white300wholemeal
Low fat liveYoghurt. A teaspoon of honey and oats on top. Bit random.
I couldn't be bothered driving to the shop so I thought I'd just try make it myself.

Replied on

Have made this bread a few times.. with greek yogurt and half wholemeal flour - delicious...

And once with chocolate chips!

Replied on

I made this one a few months ago and have been making it every week at least since. Very easy and simple. We also make one with sultanas and mixed spice. YUM....

Replied on

Five stars. Made this today, well actually my nine year old son made this today, pretty much all alone, we used low fat yoghurt. I made the pea and ham soup. Absolutely lovely. Super easy. No rising time. The kids loved it with the half and half. Next time lots of seeds are goingin and i want to try spelt and maybe 100% wholemeal. Thanks HFW. Love what you do btw, the fish campaign is great.

Replied on

Just made this and its the best bread ever....much better than those ready mixed breads sold in the super markets that you just add water and then cook.

I'm hooked now on soda bread

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