Irish Soda Bread

This Irish soda bread is very close to traditional with the exception of using pantry-friendly yogurt instead of buttermilk. It also includes whole-wheat flour and walnuts and has incredible flavor, keeps well, and goes with everything from soup to jam. Here’s how to make it.

A loaf of Irish soda bread on a brown plate with a chunk cut out and smeared with butter.

This Irish soda bread has a moist, nutty wheatiness with a dense, a subtle sweetness, and crunchy crust. It has bags more flavor than normal bread and is lovely on its own but also goes perfectly with cheese, soup, marmalade…we could go on. Plus, it’s incredibly easy to make and seems to keep for a week without becoming stale or dry.–Wild at Heart

Irish Soda Bread with Walnuts

  • Quick Glance
  • (4)
  • 15 M
  • 1 H, 30 M
  • Makes 1 loaf
5/5 - 4 reviews
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Ingredients


Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and lightly oil either a baking sheet (if you prefer to make a free-form, traditional round loaf) or a loaf pan (if you’d rather a more contemporary rectangular loaf).

Blitz half the walnuts in a food processor until you have a coarse powder. Chop the remaining walnuts into largish chunks.

Place all the walnuts in a large bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt, and mix well to ensure the baking soda is evenly dispersed.

Stir in 2 cups yogurt and gently combine, mixing first with a whisk or wooden spoon and then switching to your hands, until a soft dough forms. The dough will be a shaggy mess, but bring the ingredients together as best you can, being careful not to knead the dough as this bread benefits from being handled as little as possible.

Tester tip: Different yogurts have different moisture contents. We found that depending on the yogurt used, you may need to work the dough a little more than you expect or you may even need to add a few tablespoons or even up to 1/2 cup more yogurt.

Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface. If you’re going to bake it in a loaf tin, form the bread into a log shape and drop it into the tin. If you’re going to bake it in the traditional round, form it into a ball, place it on the oiled baking sheet, and score a deep cross into the top using a sharp knife.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the loaf is well risen and browned. Let the bread cool on a wire rack for about 30 minutes—if, that is, you can manage to keep your hands off it for that long. Originally published March 12, 2014.

Print RecipeBuy the The Hedgerow Cookbook cookbook

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

Everything I love about this recipe is right there in the intro. It's crazy easy to make and delivers "moist, nutty wheatiness with a dense crumb and crunchy crust.” I baked it in the evening and we enjoyed it for breakfast the next morning—and for a couple of days after that. We tried it with butter, peanut butter, honey, and sharp Cheddar.

The most surprising aspect of this loaf is how moist it is, considering the fact that it doesn’t have any fat other than the yogurt (I used 2%) and walnuts. The flavor is pure, nutty whole-wheat goodness and deep, rich walnuts. I would love to try the recipe again with some chopped prunes mixed in.

I halved the recipe and noticed that the dough needed an additional 1/4 cup yogurt to be properly moistened, but this might be due to the type of yogurt I used. Brands vary when it comes to moisture content.

Wow, is this bread good. And—dare I say it?—it might even be good for you. I love the combination of whole-wheat flour, coarsely ground walnuts, and coarsely chopped walnuts. The result is nutty and, thanks to the yogurt, incredibly moist.

I used low-fat yogurt and didn’t notice anything lacking. Please don’t be tempted to add another tablespoon or two of brown sugar. The bread shouldn’t be too sweet. And it’s true—the bread lasts for days without becoming dry or tasting stale. It’s divine plain or slathered with lightly salted butter or homemade jam. And don’t get me started on how great it is toasted. Please, please, please make this bread!

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Comments

  1. This bread is so good. It’s the easiest bread I’ve ever made, great toasted for breakfast, great with Hungarian cauliflower soup and just a wonderful introduction to whole wheat breads. I mixed it by hand (been watching Paul on Great British Baking Show and he says it gives you a feel for the dough and reduces the chance of overmixing). Another winner from Leite’s Culinaria—-whatever did I do without this website? I feel like a kid at Xmas when I open the site and see what goodies you all have found, every day, and from soup to dessert, there is something that makes my mouth water.

    1. Marilyn, you made our year, many thanks! We appreciate more than words can say you taking the time to express such a lovely sentiment. Thank you! We work really hard to earn and keep your trust and I’ll share your lovely acknowledgement with our entire team. And yes, that Paul knows what he’s talking about! So glad you found this recipe and took a chance on it. Looking forward to hearing which recipe on the site you try next!

  2. Unclear recipe. I weighed the walnuts and ounces didn’t equal cups of walnuts. Definitely needed half cup more yogurt, which I didn’t buy.

    1. Antoinette, my profuse apologies! Being a word person and not a numbers person, I made a gaffe in the number of ounces, which I’ve tweaked in the recipe. Rest assured, we test each of our recipes and we have a team of editors on each recipe, so this sorta oops is a rarity. If you (or anyone else) will kindly take a look at it now, you’ll see the amount has been amended. And yes, as noted in the recipe, you may need to add a touch more yogurt to the batter, depending on a lot of things, including the weather, the consistency of your brand of yogurt, the flour you use, and so forth. I hope you’ll give this—and other recipes on the site-another chance.

  3. I don’t think I’ve ever made a whole-wheat Irish Soda Bread, but that photo…mmmm. 😉 i’d have to cut back on the walnuts or sub something else because walnuts make my mouth blister, but something like pecans or almonds would also give a good, if different, flavor, wouldn’t they?

    Too, I’m wondering if you could add some softened mashed dates, since I dearly love date nut breads. This would be a lot healthier (I would think) than the usual cake-y versions…my grandmother, who made the world’s best date nut bread, is probably frowning at me from the hereafter for such heresy. 😉

    1. Hey, ruthie. Absolutely, almonds or pecans would work. Adding softened mashed dates is fine, but it will change the consistency and baking time, so you’d have to keep a close eye on it. If you make it with your suggestions, let me know how it turns out.

  4. This sounds great, and I hope to find the time to bake a loaf today. I wanted to point out one thing though, regarding the first tester’s comment that the recipe doesn’t contain “any fat other than the yogurt..and walnuts.” Taken together, 2 c of walnuts and 2 c of whole-milk yogurt contain quite a bit of fat—about as much as 1 1/2 sticks of butter (assuming I’ve done the math correctly).

    1. And yet what our tester said remains true. I believe the intention was to draw attention to the fact that the fat in the recipe is healthful fat from whole foods. Not saying it’s a low-fat recipe, simply saying, no added or hydrogenated fats.

  5. The soda bread looks wonderful. I am curious to taste it with the walnuts. Walnuts are a favorite of mine.

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