Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

Irish soda bread is a quick bread, which means it doesn't require any yeast or kneading to rise. Instead, it relies on baking soda and buttermilk, which interact for leavening. When the ingredients are combined, the leavening process starts immediately, so the dough should be mixed quickly -- hence the moniker "quick bread." It shouldn't be overworked, or the bread will be tough.

Given its attribution, it seems that an Irish soda bread would be a fitting recipe to post for St. Patrick's Day. However, upon some research, it appears that what we know as Irish soda bread in the U.S. is not authentically Irish. In Ireland, soda bread is a term for any bread leavened with baking soda (there, it's called bread soda). The method originated in the 19th century, when baking soda was introduced and before ovens were widely used. At the time, soda breads could be cooked in lidded cast iron pots over a fire.

Lynda Balslev is an award-winning writer, cookbook author, and recipe developer based in northern California. Visit TasteFood at

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