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.
Irish Soda Bread with Walnuts
- Quick Glance
- 15 M
- 1 H, 30 M
- Makes 1 loaf
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.
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.
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!