Irish soda bread is simple to make: Since baking soda instead of yeast is the leavener, there’s no waiting for the dough to rise. Our 5-ingredient version of this quick bread is perfect served warm with a smear of jam or dunked into a savory soup or stew (Irish or otherwise.) Whip up a loaf of this classic rustic bread for St. Patrick’s Day. Don’t forget to mark it with the classic cross-hatch pattern before placing it in the oven – it’s believed to ward off evil!
Whole-Wheat Irish Soda Bread
Yield: 1 loaf (can be sliced into 12 large or 24 small slices)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 3/4 cups low-fat buttermilk
Whole Wheat Pastry Flour and All-Purpose Flour
Using equal parts of these two flours gives the bread fabulous texture, nutty flavor and a boost of protein and fiber. Whole-wheat pastry flour is a good choice because it’s less coarse than regular whole wheat flour — Bob’s Red Mill brand can be found at most large chain grocery stores.
Baking soda is the leavening agent for this quick bread. When mixed with acid, carbon dioxide gas bubbles are produced to help puff (or leaven) the dough.
Salt is a must for baked goods. We used kosher salt for its clean flavor.
Tangy and smooth buttermilk gives the bread flavor, texture, and the acid needed to activate the baking soda – it’s the only wet ingredient required in the recipe.
Preheat oven to 400-degrees F and line a large sheet pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine flours, baking soda and salt; whisk to lighten and remove any lumps. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk. Gently mix with a rubber spatula until combined; do not knead or overwork the dough. Turn dough out onto prepared pan. Gently form into an even and round loaf and cut a shallow “x” pattern across the center using a serrated knife. Bake for 25 to 30 min or until firm and lightly golden. Allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing.
Nutrition Info Per Serving (1 large slice – 1/12 of loaf):
Total Fat: 1 gram
Saturated Fat: 0 grams
Total Carbohydrate: 24 grams
Protein: 5 grams
Sodium: 478 milligrams
Cholesterol: 1 milligram
Fiber: 2 grams
Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana’s full bio »