Irish soda bread is one of my favorite things to make when I want a quick loaf of bread fresh from the oven. Soda bread gets its name from the fact that it is leavened with baking soda, rather than with yeast. This means that very little time passes between starting to mix up bread dough and eating the finished loaf. Irish soda breads are moist, hearty and while there is a traditional way to make them, there is plenty of room for variation, too.
This Irish soda bread has some rolled oats in it and is sweetened with a little bit of honey. I threw in some raisins for good measure, partially because I like their moistness in soda breads in general, but primarily because their natural sweetness is brought out even more with the addition of the honey. This loaf is a little bit dense, but is tender and moist. It is great slathered with some butter while it is still warm from the oven – particularly if you are using Irish butter – and it also makes great toast. Despite the honey and raisins, it isn’t too sweet and pairs well as a side dish with chilis and soups.
Kneading soda bread gives it a better rise in the oven, so I always knead my bread for a minute or two before putting it on a baking sheet. I like to knead this type of bread right in the mixing bowl because there is no need to add additional flour that may toughen up the texture of the bread – and because there is no need to clean up the counter afterward! This recipe doesn’t make a huge loaf, but you could easily double the recipe and make two if you need to serve a crowd. I like big slices of soda bread personally, so I would say that this is a good sized loaf for up to 6 people.
Oats and Honey Irish Soda Bread
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup quick cooking oatmeal
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp honey
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup raisins
Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, stir together flour, oats, baking soda and salt. Add in honey and buttermilk and stir until dough comes together. Stir in raisins. Dough should be only slightly sticky, so that it is easy to knead. If it is too dry, add an additional tbsp or two of buttermilk.
Keeping the dough in the bowl, knead it for 1-2 minutes, turning the dough, pressing it firmly with the heel of your hand, then turning the dough and repeating. Shape dough into a ball and place on prepared baking sheet. Flatten dough until it forms a disc about 1 – 1 1/2 inches thick.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, until loaf is golden brown.
Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes on a wire rack before slicing.
Makes 1 loaf, serves 6.
rachelMarch 4, 2010
Nice..I love the ease and the less time it takes.
sharonMarch 4, 2010
I love this version! As usual, I’m bookmarking this bread for weekend baking 🙂
KaraMarch 5, 2010
Soda bread is something I’ve never tried, and I really should some time. I’ve become super lazy with my bread machine though. Would I be able to toss this in maybe on dough setting and then bake?
LaurenMarch 5, 2010
There’s nothing like homemade bread, but I obviously don’t always have the time to devote to making a yeasted variety. This quick bread looks delicious! I see a warm loaf of soda bread in my near future :).
CarolMarch 5, 2010
I’ve never made soda bread before. Love how simple the ingredients list is. Have you ever tried using fresh ginger in this recipe? My hunch is the ginger would go nicely with teh raisins. I might have to experiment this weekend!
FranMarch 5, 2010
How about caraway seed? I’m fond of it in my irish soda bread.
ulimonsterMarch 5, 2010
funny thing is that here (southwest ireland) I cannot get hold of unsalted Kerrygold ever. Plenty of the salted stuff and the sandwhich spread variety of it around in the supermarket though 🙂
Funnily the one thing I never manage to make successfully is soda bread. I need to remember to pick some up from the shop for st patricks day. its really wonderful with real honest irish stew 😉
Also another hint is what most people down ehre would call soda bread which is a darker bread with wholemeal. The white variety is more common in Northern Ireland than in the Republic 🙂 Both kinds are goodly but I am a white bread girl myself.
ok I wills top babbling uncontrollably now
PamMarch 5, 2010
Irish soda bread is so delicious but, I’ve never tried baking it. Homemade bread is great and just needs a cup of coffee to go with it. I will try this for St. Pat’s Day! Thanks!
ZoÃ«March 5, 2010
I’ve done a similar one following a River Cottage recipe but with walnuts and dates… so delicious… love the idea of buttermilk too
EmilyMarch 5, 2010
Would I be able to substitute regular oats for quick cook? I always have regular, but never quick cook.
PastryPrincessMarch 6, 2010
this certainly looks yummy but technically its not irish soday bread… because its sweet and has raisins etc in it which is why itd be considered a cake. oy, i must sound like a teacher, sorry! 😉 traditional irish soda bread only has a few components such as buttermilk and baking soda which are the 2 key ingredients. no sugar etc though! its so simply and yet soo delicious, especially with real salted irish butter! 🙂 obviously you know all that and i agree, theres always room for variations and this ones great for afternoon tea. i make the traditional brown soda bread quite frequently but havent posted it yet – i will soon though… let me know what you think!
online nutrition degreeMarch 7, 2010
Is it keks? Or is it kulich? All from russian cuisine..
EricaMarch 14, 2010
The perfect thing to bring to my co-workers this week! Plus I have some local honey to use that I just purchased as farmers market yesterday. Think I’ll use golden raisins though 🙂 Thanks!
reusch goalkeeper gloveApril 30, 2010
maybe use some cereal as topping….yummy.
LilyJuly 11, 2010
My dough was too sticky that it can’t be kneaded. Nevertheless, I pour the mixture into a loaf pan and continued to bake the dough per instruction. The bread looks like rocky rocks version from outside. But it still edible and taste nice.
I used a cup of milk + 1tbsp apple cider as buttermilk since buttermilk is not available in my area.
May i have your opinion on where I might have gone wrong?
Will try again, as i have Great result with other recipes from this site.
ReneeMarch 17, 2018
This is delicious! Like another commenter, the dough came out way too sticky for me. I found I needed to add more flour (at least 1/2 cup) and then I used a spatula to knead it instead of my hands. I was worried it wouldn’t turn out but it tasted amazing!!