Easy Soda Bread

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$0.66 recipe / $0.08 serving

Written by Monti – Budget Bytes

When I couldn’t afford a $4 loaf of bread on my $10-a-day food budget, I turned to soda bread. I would make a loaf every morning, slice it, and top it with scrambled eggs, mashed avocado, or butter. I’d serve it as a partner in crime with simple salads and soups. I even used it on an episode of MasterChef (I competed on Season 3), and Gordon Ramsay loved it. This recipe is very easy to put together and incredibly budget-friendly. Get ready to put this one in heavy rotation!

What’s Special About Soda Bread?

Soda bread is a quick bread with a hard outer crust and a dense, tight crumb. Quick breads are leavened with baking powder or soda instead of yeast. So, if you’ve had a muffin, cornbread, biscuits, or banana bread, you’ve had quick bread. Soda bread is leavened with baking soda, which gives it its namesake.

What You Need

You need just 4 ingredients to make soda bread: flour, baking soda, a little salt, and buttermilk. The baking soda reacts with the acidity of the buttermilk, creating tiny bubbles in the dough, giving soda bread its signature texture. You don’t even need to knead it. It’s so easy that I could make it with a two-year-old at my knees screaming for Yo Gabba Gabba. (If you are currently sharing space with a two-year-old, my thoughts and prayers are with you. #neveragain)

Why Don’t You Need To Knead It?

You knead bread to develop gluten strands, rubberband-like proteins that help bread rise. They create a net that traps all of the gas developed by bread made with yeast. Because soda bread is not yeasted bread, kneading it just makes it dense and hard. To develop its trademark soft crumb, you touch the dough as little as possible while shaping it.

Where Does This Recipe Come From?

Many cultures worldwide make some form of soda bread, and it is thought to have been created by Native Americans. However, the most commonly known recipe is for Irish soda bread. It became a popular recipe in Ireland during the famine when bread had to be made from cheap ingredients: soft wheat flour, salt, baking soda, and sour milk.

What Else Can I Add To Soda Bread?

Traditionally, Irish soda bread is just four ingredients. But Irish Americans add currants or caraway seeds to the dough. You can also add a few teaspoons of citrus zest or your favorite fresh herbs. For a fun twist, try it with Everything Bagel seasoning. It’s truly a blank canvas, so don’t be scared to experiment with your favorite flavors.

What To Serve With Soda Bread

Soda bread is perfect for sopping up that last bit of sauce or stew. For a perfect pairing, check out these recipes.

Easy Soda Bread

This Easy Soda Bread recipe is budget-friendly, and endlessly adaptable. It’s also a stone-cold stunner. It got props from Gordon Ramsay!

Author: Monti – Budget Bytes

Servings: 8 slices

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour ($0.27)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda ($0.01)
  • 1/2 tsp salt ($0.06)
  • 1 cup buttermilk* ($0.32)
  • Set a rack in the middle of your oven and preheat it to 450°F. Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl until they are fully incorporated.

  • Form a well in the center of the flour mixture and fill the well with the buttermilk.

  • Use a fork to incorporate the flour into the buttermilk little by little until a thick batter forms. Use your hands to incorporate the final bits of flour and gently shape the batter into a dough. Do not overwork the dough.

  • Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and gently shape it into a round 6 inches in diameter and about 1 1/2 inches thick.

  • Place the dough in a Dutch oven or cast iron skillet. Use a sharp knife to cut a large x into the top of the dough.

  • Bake for 10 minutes at 450°F. Then lower the oven temperature to 400°F and continue baking until the bread is golden brown and crusty on the outside, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool.

*If you don’t have buttermilk, simply take a cup of milk and add one tablespoon of vinegar to it to create your own buttermilk. I usually use distilled white, but any vinegar will do. You can also use citrus juice.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.


Serving: 1 sliceCalories: 132 kcalCarbohydrates: 25 gProtein: 4 gFat: 1 gSodium: 246 mgFiber: 1 g

Nutritional values are estimates only. See our full nutrition disclaimer here.


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How to Make Easy Soda Bread – Step by Step Photos

Set a rack in the middle of your oven and preheat to 450°F. Mix the the 2 cups of flour, the 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, and the 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a large bowl until they are fully incorporated.

Form a well in the center of the flour mixture and fill the well with the buttermilk.

Use a fork to incorporate the flour into the buttermilk little by little until a thick batter forms. Use your hands to incorporate the final bits of flour and gently shape the batter into a dough. Do not overwork the dough.

Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and gently shape it into a round 6 inches in diameter and about 1 1/2 inches thick.

Place the loaf in a Dutch oven or cast iron skillet. Use a sharp knife to cut a large x into the top of the dough.

Bake for 10 minutes at 450°F. Then lower the oven temperature to 400°F and continue baking until the bread is golden brown and crusty on the outside, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool.

Overhead shot of baked easy soda bread sliced on parchment.

Enjoy the warm, cozy soda bread with a thick smear of butter and your favorite bowl of soup!

Check Out These Other Easy Bread Recipes:



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