Paul Hollywood's Soda Bread is a fantastic homemade crusty bread with no yeast, no kneading, and you get golden heaven on your table in only 40 minutes. A great traditional Irish recipe for St Patrick's Day, this bread is made with white and wholemeal flour, soda and buttermilk, and it's the best bread you can get.
If you love the idea of freshly-baked bread but you dread the whole proving process, and have little time to spare, this is a recipe you will absolutely love. Adapted from the recipe of the one and only Paul Hollywood, this popular Irish soda bread is my new favourite bread to make.
Although I really doubt there will be any leftover for the next day, I do find that this bread is amazing on the day you bake, especially when it is still warm.
Another great thing about it is that plain flour can be used instead of strong flour. The recipe calls for half amount of plain white flour and half of plain wholemeal flour. Fairly simple, isn't it? I certainly do love baking bread. Nothing compares to the fresh aroma of homemade bread that fills your kitchen, especially on a cold winter day.
And the bread is certainly tons healthier than the store-bough version that is highly processed. I mean, have you seen that sliced bread that you touch and it becomes dough right away?
It can only mean one thing, the bread is nothing but full of preservatives that fluff it up to look fantastic. But it's not. We have already ditched the sliced store-bought bread, and only buy different kinds, and that occasionally. Right, so how to make this no-yeast bread? Very simple!
- plain white flour - there is no need for bread flour
- plain wholemeal flour
- bicarbonate of soda
Variations of the soda bread
It can also be tweaked to your own liking without compromising on flavour or texture, so use only white flour if you like, or only wholemeal (whole wheat), or, why not, adds seeds and other ingredients to it, my Soda Bread with Cheddar Cheese, Olives and Red Peppers is just amazing!
I also made some delicious Soda Bread Rolls, which are basically made with the same ingredients, just divided the dough to make rolls rather than one loaf. Or you can make muffins, my Irish Soda Bread Muffins are incredibly delicious.
If you still want to use both white and wholemeal, you can tweak the amounts used instead of half half, use more or less, as long as the total amounts stays the same as specified in the recipe.
For a more Irish touch, why not try my Guinness Brown Bread? It's so delicious, perfect for your St Patrick's Day celebrations.
Step-by-step photos and instructions
There is no need to break your back kneading the dough here. Make sure the oven it's pre-heated before popping the bread in! We add the flours to a bowl, together with the salt and bicarbonate of soda, make a well in the middle, add the buttermilk, then mix quickly to bring the ingredients together.
Transfer the dough to the working surface, add some flour to help you shape the dough into a round, then cut through it with a sharp knife. Be careful not to cut all the way through, just over the surface, then in the oven, and the bread is ready in about 30-35 minutes depending on your oven.
Add more buttermilk if you feel that the dough is not soft enough - different brands of flour would get you different results - you can increase the buttermilk to up to 500 ml if needed.
How do I know that the soda bread is baked?
If the bread is lightly brown and it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom, then it's ready to be enjoyed. Leave to cool for a bit on a cooling rack before slicing, a cooled bread is a lot easier to be sliced.
What to serve with soda bread
From a hot bowl of soup, a nice Irish beef stew, or a nice pot of beef curry, the possibilities are endless. It also makes a great sandwich, if you want to swap the regular bread. Spread a bit of butter on it, and it's like tasting heaven. Or, why not, just enjoy it on its own!
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Paul Hollywood's Soda Bread (No-Yeast)
- 250 g plain white flour
- 250 g plain wholemeal flour
- 1 ts salt
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 450 ml buttermilk
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (390 Fahrenheit).
- In a large bowl, sift the white and wholemeal flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and mix gently with the tips of your fingers.
- Make a well in the middle and add the buttermilk.
- Mix quickly to form a soft, pretty sticky dough, then turn it onto a lightly-floured surface and knead briefly, just enough for the dough to hold together and be shaped into a ball.
- Flour a large baking tray, place the bread on it, then use a sharp knife to cut a cross on the top.
- Spread some flour over it, then bake for about 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and the bottom of the bread sounds hollow when tapped.
- Allow it to cool on a wire rack.
- If you'd like to see the ingredients listed in cups and ounces, please check the US Customary Link.
- Also, the amount of ingredients changes depending on the servings, so click on the number listed to change it to the number you prefer.
- Add more buttermilk if you feel that the dough is not soft enough - different brands of flour would get you different results - you can increase the buttermilk to up to 500 ml if needed.
This bread turned out like I expected but why would you put "cook time 30 minutes, total time 35 minutes" at the top of the recipe and then "bake for 45-50 minutes" in the body of the recipe? Very irritating.
I have updated the recipe with the correct times, thank you for letting me know about the errors!
A good recipe but I found that using 500ml (2 cups) of buttermilk (3.5%) worked better with a cooking time of 35 minutes than the recipe’s suggested 400ml which produced a rather dry crumbly dough. I suspect that this may be due to the local altitude (4000ft) which can cause problems with recipes written at sea level.
As I have limited ingredients I used semi skimmed milk and only plain flour so used crumbs from bran flakes to make up weights.It was great and so quick to make.
Glad it worked! It’s not easy to find ingredients these days, improvising is the best we can do.
Lovely recipe, used creme fraiche I stead of buttermilk as that’s all I had, also added some oat milk to loosen the dough a bit too and I’m really happy with how it turned it!
I am glad it turned out alright. It’s an interesting combination, l must try it!
Do not knead the dough out makes the bread heavy, work quickly and lightly and get the dough in the oven asap
I watched this episode on tv and Paul said to cut the dough completely through, into four sections then sorta push them back together.
This recipe say to NOT cut through. Does it matter?
I personally prefer not to cut it all the way through, and this has worked for me so far, l make the bread often. With all my cooking and baking l always adapt recipes/techniques to the way it’s easier or makes more sense to me.
Albert L J Hall
As long as you get the basic recipe right EXPERIMENT- that's what cooking is about. Don't take too much notice of GRANDMA'S recipes- Some Grandma's were bloody awful cooks including both of mine.
Go with the pro- their reputation is at stake!!
Every IRISH family had their own recipe and quite often the only people who ever ate it were or, wanted too, the 'family'and it 'Grandma' was anything like mine THAT was a wise move!