Make easy Irish soda bread without yeast in under an hour during lockdown

It seems like everyone is baking something at the minute and bread is one of the most popular recipes.

With people trying not to go to the shop too much, making bread at home means you can have fresh stuff every few days.

But with yeast in short supply, people are looking for ways to make bread.

You might have seen people creating a sourdough starter to replace yeast, which is a great option but you do need to wait a week before you can make bread.

Instead, you can try this quick Irish bread. It’s known as soda bread in most places, but in Northern Ireland (where I’m from) soda bread is very different so this is usually called wheaten bread.

Whatever you want to call it, it’s delicious and really easy. The whole process takes less than an hour.

It uses wholewheat flour traditionally but if you really can’t find wholewheat, it will still work with just plain flour.


300g wholewheat flour

100g plain flour

1 tsp salt

1tsp bicarbonate of soda (you need this rather than baking powder. It’s what makes the bread rise)

60g butter

2 tbsp caster sugar

300 ml butter milk (or if you can’t get butter milk, use milk with a tbsp of lemon juice, apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar to make it go sour. You can also mix 150 ml of mix with 150 ml of yoghurt)

1tbsp oats (optional)

Method for Irish soda bread:

Preheat your oven to 200C.

Put the flour, salt and bicarb in a bowl, add the butter and rub it with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs.

Add the sugar and stir.

Add the buttermilk (or buttermilk replacement), a little at a time, until it comes together into a soft but not sticky dough. You might not need to use it all. If you add to much, add a little flour.

Knead it briefly on a worktop before getting it ready to bake. Traditionally, it is baked in a round with a cross cut on top, to help it bake evenly, on a baking tray but you can also bake it in a lined loaf tin if you prefer.

Brush the top with a little buttermilk (or milk) and sprinkle with some oats, if you are using them.

Bake for 25-30 minutes. Stick a knife or skewer in the middle and if it comes out clean, it is ready.

Leave to cool and then slice to enjoy. If you cut it in a round, you can just tear along the cross.

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