Irish Soda Bread Without Buttermilk – Are you craving freshly baked bread for the holidays or any occasion but don’t have any buttermilk? No worries, enjoy the deliciousness of traditional Irish soda bread without it! Our no-yeast bread recipe will have you cutting into a warm crusty loaf of bread in no time! It is best served warm with room-temperature butter, fig jam, or marmalade. It also pairs well with hearty meals like Instant Pot beef stew or Dutch oven corned beef and cabbage.
Soda bread is a traditional Irish bread that has been around for centuries, made with just a few simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries. Soda bread is the very definition of quick bread, made with baking soda instead of yeast. However, there is one ingredient most people don’t have, buttermilk. I will show you how to make heavy, dense traditional soda bread without buttermilk.
WHY IS IT CALLED “SODA” BREAD?
Soda bread has nothing to do with soda pop. It is a quick and easy bread to make because it uses baking soda instead of yeast (hence the name), eliminating the need for time-consuming proofing or rising periods. For traditional recipes, baking soda reacts with the acidic buttermilk, helping the bread rise. The chemical reaction is what gives soda bread its characteristic texture and flavor.
I don’t know about you, but I usually don’t have buttermilk in my fridge, so I had to learn quick substitutions using regular milk or almond milk to make this recipe for soda bread without buttermilk.
WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE
- Lemon Juice
- All Purpose Flour
- Baking Soda
HOW TO MAKE IRISH SODA BREAD WITHOUT BUTTERMILK
The full recipe with measurements is in the recipe card below.
Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C). Pour the milk into a liquid measuring cup and squeeze the lemon juice over the top. Stir to combine and set it aside for 10 minutes.
Create a well and add the reserved milk and lemon mixture. Stir to form a sticky dough. Then, flour your hands and form a round disk (3cm high) the size of your Dutch oven.
Add the dough to a prepared dutch oven. Cut a deep cross (1 cm deep) across the top of the dough. Bake for 30 minutes.
Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool completely before serving.
- Unlike traditional bread, soda bread does not require kneading. Over-mixing the dough can lead to tough, dense bread; I recommend mixing the ingredients just enough for them to come together and form a dough.
- Baking soda, combined with an acid, creates bubbles to lighten baked goods. In this recipe, baking soda, milk, and lemon juice have a quick response, so they don’t require a lengthy rise time like our no fail cinnamon rolls.
- Irish soda bread without buttermilk is a rustic bread, which means it doesn’t have to have a perfect appearance. While forming the dough, don’t worry about making it perfectly round.
- Before baking, use a sharp knife or slashing tool to make a deep cross on the top of the dough; this helps the bread cook evenly and ensures the center is fully cooked.
- Soda bread without buttermilk bakes at a higher temperature than other bread. Preheat your oven to 425°F (218°C) and bake the bread for 30-40 minutes, or until it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
- Allow the bread to cool completely before slicing.
SEARCHING FOR MORE LIKE THIS?
If you love this recipe, pair it with one of these dinner favorites!
And more of our beef stew recipes!
Soda bread is delicious as-it-is, but a few extras can take the crusty bread recipe to another level.
- Mix-Ins: Make Irish soda bread however you like it, which means deciding whether you want it to be savory or sweet. Add up to ½ cup of sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, walnuts, pistachios, almonds, raisins, craisins, or one tablespoon of sugar to the dough. Herbs like rosemary or thyme are another great addition to crusty bread.
- What do you put on Irish soda bread? Spread savory butter, homemade fig jam, honey, avocado, nut, or seed butter onto the bread to serve.
WHAT TO DO WITH THE LEFTOVERS
- Storage – Soda bread can dry quickly, so I recommend covering it with plastic and wrapping it in foil. Leave the leftovers at room temperature for three days, but it’s best enjoyed fresh.
- Freeze – Let the bread cool completely, and transfer it to a freezer-safe container or bag. Soda bread freezes for 2-3 months.
- Thaw – Before serving, defrost it on the countertop overnight.
- Repurpose – Use the leftover bread to replace rye and make a Reuben.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How do you know when soda bread is done?
To know when bread is done cooking, tap on the crust and listen for a hollow sound.
Can you over-knead soda bread?
If you want to knead the dough, go easy and limit it to 5-6 times at most. Over-kneading will result in a dense crumb, especially with no-yeast bread like soda bread without buttermilk. As a rule of thumb, the softer the crumb, the less you knead.
MORE IRISH-INSPIRED FAVORITES:
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Irish Soda Bread Without Buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice, about one lemon
- 2 cups milk
- 4¼ cup all purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon oil
- Preheat the oven to 425° F (218°C). Pour the milk into a liquid measuring cup and squeeze the lemon juice over the top. Stir to combine and set it aside for 10 minutes.
- Create a well and add the reserved milk and lemon mixture. Stir to form a sticky dough. Then, flour your hands and form a round disk (3cm high) the size of your Dutch oven.
- Add the dough to a prepared dutch oven. Cut a deep cross (1 cm deep) across the top of the dough. Bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool completely before serving.