Dutch Oven Irish Soda Bread

Dutch Oven Irish Soda Bread

Dutch oven Irish Soda Bread makes the perfect St. Patrick’s Day breakfast.  With only six ingredients and one hour, you can make this tender, delicious loaf.  Serve it warm with butter and jam for a treat your whole family will love.  It’s also amazing with soups or stews.

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Dutch Oven Irish Soda Bread - round loaf baked in a pot with brown parchment paper wrapped on the sides.

If I’m not serving this for breakfast with Candied Bourbon Bacon, French-Style Scrambled Eggs, and Classic Strawberry Jam, a Savory Irish Beef Stew goes wonderfully with the bread.  

History Of Irish Soda Bread

The original version of soda bread is attributed to the Native Americans who used pearl ash, which is a natural form of soda derived from wood ash, to leaven their bread.

During the 1830s, bicarbonate soda (baking soda) was first introduced in the UK and quickly spread to Ireland.  

Soda bread gained widespread popularity during the Irish potato famine when families had few resources-both financially and access to ingredients. Since soda bread used inexpensive ingredients – including sour milk – it replaced potatoes as a cheap way to feed a family.

Today, buttermilk replaces sour milk. The leavening occurs because the baking soda reacts with the buttermilk and creates carbon dioxide bubbles. It’s the buttermilk that gives the loaf its signature tangy flavor and by baking it in a Dutch oven, the loaf has a moist, tender interior and a lovely outer crust.

Partial loaf of Dutch Oven Irish Soda Bread with a slice on a wooden board.

Ingredients Needed

  • Butter – to grease the Dutch oven.  You want to use butter for this recipe.  It adds more flavor and makes for a better bottom crust.  It also keeps the loaf from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  • All-purpose flour
  • Sugar – this is optional.  If I’m serving the loaf with stew or soup, then I’ll leave it out.  If I’m serving it for breakfast or brunch, I add just a bit of sugar.
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Buttermilk – I use full-fat buttermilk for this recipe.  The extra fat adds additional moisture to the loaf.

Steps To Make This Recipe

  1.  Butter the bottom and sides of a Dutch oven.
  2. Sift together the dry ingredients.
  3. Mix in the buttermilk.
  4. Knead gently for only a minute and form into a ball.
  5. Bake.

A loaf of Dutch Oven Irish Soda Bread atop brown parchment paper on a wooden board.

Tips And Variations

  • All-purpose flour is considered a ‘soft-wheat’ flour, meaning it doesn’t have as much gluten.  But, you still don’t want to overwork the dough.  Only knead it a few times to smooth out the dough and form it into a disk.
  • Use a sharp knife to cut the top of the loaf before baking it.  You can make either two slashes or an ‘X’ on the top.
  • Because there are no preservatives and the texture of the loaf is more like a scone, the bread is best eaten the same day it is made.  Leftovers can be stored in a zip-top bag in the refrigerator, sliced, and toasted.
  • Add-ins for this recipe make for delicious and endless variations.  Sugar, a touch of cinnamon, and raisins would make a great, sweet loaf.  Caraway seeds and coarse salt or fresh herbs and grated cheese are a couple of savory options.

If you are looking for more recipes to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, here are a few suggestions:

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A loaf of Dutch Oven Irish Soda Bread atop brown parchment paper on a wooden board.

Dutch Oven Irish Soda Bread


Description

Dutch oven Irish Soda Bread makes the perfect St. Patrick’s Day breakfast.  With only six ingredients and one hour, you can make this tender, delicious loaf.


Ingredients

Scale

1 tablespoon butter

4 cups all-purpose flour, more for dusting the pot

2 tablespoons sugar (optional)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 ½ teaspoons salt

1 ¾ cups buttermilk


Instructions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Grease the bottom and about 1-inch up the side of your Dutch oven with the butter and dust with flour.  Shake out any excess flour. Set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. 

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the baking soda into it.

Stir the buttermilk and dry ingredients together until a sticky dough forms.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and gently knead the dough for about a minute to smooth out the dough.  

Shape the dough into a round disk that will fit into the bottom of your Dutch oven.

Place the dough in the Dutch oven. 

Wet your hands and smooth out the top of your loaf.

Use a sharp knife to cut two slashes into the top of the dough.

Place the lid on the Dutch oven and bake the bread for 30 minutes.

Remove the lid from the pot and continue to bake the bread for another 15 minutes.

The bread is done when it is golden brown and sounds hollow when you tap it.

Remove the bread from the oven and gently turn your loaf out onto a wire rack to cool.

Cover the bread with a dish towel to keep it moist. 

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: Irish

Keywords: Dutch oven Irish soda bread, Irish soda bread, quick breads, St. Patrick's Day, unleavened bread, buttermilk bread

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