A simple, easy recipe for homemade sourdough Irish soda bread with tangy sourdough discard. The taste is slightly sweet with a hint of butter!
In America, we know Irish soda bread as a sweet, raisin-studded “quick bread” served with corned beef and cabbage, the official feast of St. Patrick’s Day. The texture is dense and crumbly, similar to a scone (not actual bread). I love it.
In Ireland however, the original Irish soda bread was more rustic and not sweet at all. Made with just 4 ingredients, including soft wheat flour, baking soda, sour milk and salt (no sugar), it was enjoyed year round with soups and stews, and served warm with tea. More interesting facts here.
Like most old school recipes, Irish soda bread evolved over time. Modern versions typically include butter, powdered sugar, citrus zest and even eggs. In this post, you’ll learn how to make homemade Irish soda bread my way, with tangy sourdough starter for an unexpected twist. The taste is slightly sweet, not too dense, with hint of rich butter flavor.
Flavor: Sourdough adds a unique depth of flavor to any baked good. When combined with baking soda, the sour notes actually neutralize. The soda bread will not taste sour. You can use bubbly, active sourdough starter or sourdough discard for this recipe- your choice.
Preservation: The naturally occurring acids in sourdough act as a built-in preservative. The acids enhance the texture of this soda bread, tenderizing the interior crumb. I use about 1 full cup of sourdough. It works beautifully in this recipe.
No Waste: As part of the sourdough starter feeding process, a pile up of sourdough discard can feel overwhelming. This sourdough discard recipe puts it to good use without the waste. Read more here, Sourdough Discard 101: Recipes & Faqs Answered.
Sourdough Irish Soda Bread Ingredients (You Will Need):
- All Purpose Flour (I use King Arthur)
- Granulated Sugar
- Baking Soda
- Sourdough Discard
How To Make It:
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment: combine the dry ingredients. Add the butter, a few cubes at a time, and mix until incorporated. Add the wet ingredients.
Note: after mixing, the texture will be slightly sticky- this is normal. I use King Arthur All Purpose Flour because it absorbs more liquid than regular all purpose flour, but any all purpose flour will do. You can always add more flour as needed to adjust the texture.
Once you’re done with the dough, shape it into a ball, cut a large X on top, and bake on a parchment lined sheet pan @ 375 F/ 190 C for 45-55 minutes. Done!
Irish Soda Bread Tips
- Irish Soda bread is easier to cut into thick wedges, rather than slices- it’s too crumbly. Use a large serrated knife.
- A chemical reaction takes place between the buttermilk and baking soda during baking; it makes the dough rise. For best results, I do not recommend non-dairy substitutions.
- For a sweeter, softer, cake-like version: use 400 g Tipo 00 flour (this is a fine-milled soft wheat flour from Italy) and the zest of 1/2 orange. Great with coffee.
- Use Kerry Gold salted butter for extra richness and color.
More Sourdough Discard Recipes To Try!
- Best Sourdough Pancakes
- Ultimate Sourdough Banana Bread
- Cinnamon-Sugar Sourdough Waffles
- Secret Ingredient Sourdough Cornbread
A simple, easy recipe for homemade sourdough Irish soda bread made with tangy sourdough starter. Slightly sweet, not too dense, with a hint of butter. Recipe adapted with changes from Ina Garten.
- 375 g (3 cups) all purpose flour (I use KAF)
- 50 g (4 tbsp) granulated sugar
- 5 g (1 tsp) baking soda
- 7 g (1 1/2 tsp) fine sea salt
- 60 g (4 tbsp) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
- 1 large egg
- 170 g (appx. 3/4 cup) buttermilk
- 200 g (appx. 1 cup) sourdough starter discard or active sourdough starter
- 150 g (1 cup) raisins
- Volume measurements are in US cups.
- If you do not have buttermilk, use 3/4 cup milk + 1 scant tablespoon fresh lemon juice.
- My sourdough discard is 100% hydration. This means it’s made up of equal parts flour and water by weight, and has a thick, batter-like texture. Your starter might be a different hydration % which is fine.
- Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter, a few cubes at a time, and mix until incorporated.
- Lightly beat the egg, buttermilk, and sourdough discard together in a separate bowl.
- Woking in batches, gradually pour the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture.
- Add the raisins. Mix to combine; the dough will be slightly wet and sticky.
- Scoop the dough onto a well floured surface. Knead it a few times into a round ball. With a serrated knife, cut an “x” into the top.
- Bake on the center rack for 45-55 minutes. If necessary, cover the loaf with foil at the 40 minute mark to prevent over browning. The soda bread is finished when a toothpick (or spaghetti strand!) comes out clean when inserted. The bottom should sound hollow when you give it a knock.
- Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
- With a serrated knife, cut into wedges (much easier than slices), and serve warm or at room temperature with butter. Soda bread is best enjoyed on the same day it’s made.
Keywords: Irish soda bread, Ina Garten, simple recipe, easy, sourdough discard recipe, sourdough starter