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Rosaleen’s Irish Soda Bread

A classic recipe from Ireland

This recipe is a staff favorite - it comes from Darren Whelan in our Dublin office, who over the years has often brought in his delicious baked treats, to the delight of his colleagues. This classic recipe for one of Ireland's most beloved staples comes from his grandmother: 

This bread is one of my Nan’s (born 1939) earliest memories. Soda Bread was typically made first thing in the morning, before the rest of the house was awake. As the method requires a very hot oven to begin with, it was perfectly suited to baking in the stove as the fire for the day was roaring. This soda bread would be eaten with all meals through the day. It is a great way to use up sour milk. We serve it buttered with soup, or simply with butter and jam. If you really want a treat fry the bread in the same pan as some streaky bacon, sausage and an egg for a hearty breakfast.

It’s also a one bowl recipe and makes a sizeable loaf which freezes well in quarters. It’s a very forgiving recipe, with some of us preferring to add a whole egg with the wet ingredients to increase the richness.

Prep Time: 10mins

Baking Time: 45 – 50mins


  • 250g Stone Ground Coarse Wholemeal Flour
  • 200g Plain white flour
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp bicarb of soda (IE) or baking soda (US)
  • 380ml sour milk or buttermilk
  • 1 egg (optional)



  • Pre-heat oven to 220C
  • Using a large bowl, mix together your dry ingredients well.
  • Making a well in the centre add your buttermilk, mix with your hand until all of the flour is incorporated. It is a wet dough but shouldn’t be overly sticky, add extra white flour if needed.
  • Flour your countertop very well and turn out dough, flour your hands and tidy up the dough into a neat squat ball.
  • Place loaf on lightly floured baking tray. Mark with a deep cross.
  • Place loaf in the oven and after 20 minutes reduce heat to 180C. A further 25 minutes at 180C should see it cooked through.
  • To test turn upside down and tap on the bottom, if it sounds hollow it’s done. If not return to the oven upside down for 5-10mins and retest.
  • Tip: sour milk should be whole milk (4%) – if using skimmed sour milk (2%) add some room temp butter to the recipe.

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