Irish Genealogy Toolkit logo

More Irish soda bread recipes

Take the basic recipe and create something a little extra special

Irish soda bread variations

These Irish soda bread recipes add something a little extra to the basic recipe.

Irish soda bread with currants.
Soda bread, together with potatoes, were the mainstays of the traditional Irish diet, but both were prepared a little differently for a special occasion. Halloween was the time for Apple Bread, while Currant Bread provided some fruity nutrition at any time of the year.

Soda farls don't contain anything extra to the basic recipe; the difference comes simply in the way the dough is cooked.

Don't worry if you can't readily buy Buttermilk. You can make your own — it's surprisingly easy. See the right hand column for the method.

For 1 quantity of soda bread dough

The quantities given below are half those you'll find on the basic Irish soda bread recipe's page but the preparation and baking methods are the same.


  • (340g (12oz) plain flour
  • Half a level teaspoon of salt
  • Half a level teaspoon of bread soda (bicarb)
  • 0.3 litre (half a pint) of buttermilk


    Mix the dry ingredients together and sieve twice.
    Make a well in the centre of the flour and add enough buttermilk to get a soft but not wet dough. Use your hands to mix. It should be light, and easy to handle. Knead very lightly.

  • Currant Soda Bread


  • 1 quantity of soda bread dough (see box to the right)
  • 170g (6oz) currants or mixture of dried fruit


    Add the fruit to the dough before kneading into a shape.

    Shape the dough into a round 5cm (2inches) deep.

    Place on a floured baking tray and bake at 230C/450F/gas8 for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 200C/400F/Gas6 for a further 20-30 minutes.

    Soda Farls


  • 1 quantity of soda bread dough (see box, right)


    Roll dough to just over 1cm (half an inch) thick. Cut into four quarters (farls).

    Cook each farl on a griddle for 10 minutes on each side or until they sound hollow when tapped.

    To serve, split the farl and be lavish with good country butter. Eat immediately.

    Apple Bread


  • 1 quantity of soda bread dough (see box, above right)
  • 450g (1lb) of stewed apples, sweetened to taste


    Using half the dough, shape with your hands into a round, as if preparing the basic loaf, then use a roller to flatten it to half an inch thick.

    Place stewed apple mixture on top of this dough, leaving a 2cm (one inch) apple-free edge all the way round. Moisten the edges with a little milk.

    Taking the remaining half of the dough, make an identical round and place it over the apple, pressing the edges together as you go.

    Place on a floured baking tray and bake at (200C/400F/Gas6) for 45-50 minutes.

    ←   top of page

  • How to make your own buttermilk

    Our rural ancestors would have either bought their buttermilk from a local creamery or made it themselves.

    Back then, buttermilk was simply the liquid squeezed from cream while churning butter. It was used as on a daily basis as a dressing for potatoes and as an essential ingredient in Irish soda bread recipes.

    In fact, it turns up in quite a few traditional Irish recipes.

    These days, most shop-bought buttermilk is 'cultured' and heat-treated to remove bacteria. It doesn't taste as good to drink as the natural variety, but it's perfectly suitable for baking.

    Outside of Ireland, where the home baking tradition is still strong, it can be difficult to find buttermilk in shops.

    Fortunately, you can make your own, easily and quickly.

    Ingredients for 2.5 pints:

  • ½ oz (15g) yeast
  • ½ oz (15g) sugar
  • 2 pints (1.1 litres) water
  • ½ pint (265 ml) milk
  • Method:

    Cream the yeast and sugar together.

    Warm the water slightly and mix with the milk.

    Gradually add the liquid to the creamed sugar and yeast mix, stirring all the time.

    The resulting liquid smells sour but not unpleasant.

    Strain it through muslin and your buttermilk is ready for use in any of the Irish soda bread recipes variations on this page.

    The quantities above make a larger quantity than you'll need, so why not use up the excess by following this easy scone recipe.

    | Home Page | Disclaimer | Contact |Sitemap|Privacy Policy|

    By Claire Santry, Copyright© 2008-2016 Dedicated to helping YOU discover your Irish Heritage.
    Return to top