No buttermilk? No problem! You can make this Easy Irish Soda Bread with plain yogurt. This recipe is super quick too – you can have fresh bread in under 40 minutes. And no kneading or proving required!
My soda bread obsession continues…
To say I am obsessed with soda bread would be a monumental understatement. I am crazy about soda bread. So much so, that I have a whopping great 10 soda bread recipes on this website, including:
- Easy White Soda Bread
- Easy Wholemeal Soda Bread
- Easy Granary Soda Bread
- Easy Soda Bread Rolls
- No Buttermilk Soda Bread (Vegan & Dairy Free)
Why do I love soda bread so much? Simple – because it’s quick (it takes less than 40 minutes), easy (no kneading or proving required!) and delicious. What more can you ask for?
No need for buttermilk
Traditional Irish Soda Bread recipes usually call for buttermilk, but buttermilk can sometimes be hard to get hold of and quite expensive. Fortunately there is a super easy substitute – simply use plain yogurt in place of the buttermilk. It works just as well and tastes just as good!
How to make Irish Soda Bread with Yogurt
One of the things I love about soda bread is how easy the recipe is – it’s the kind of recipe you can learn off by heart it’s so simple!
All you need to do is mix together flour, salt and baking soda, then stir in plain yogurt. Next, bring the dough together into a ball and place on a baking tray. Flatten the ball a little and then cut a deep cross into it, then bake in a pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes until cooked all the way through and golden on top. Easy peasy!
The best yogurt for soda bread
The best yogurt for making soda bread is full fat plain natural yogurt, but you can also use plain Greek yogurt if that’s what you have in your fridge (though you may need to add a splash of water to your dough to achieve the correct consistency). Low fat and 0% yogurts will also work in this recipe.
I haven’t tried it personally, but I imagine a yogurt flavoured with honey would also work quite nicely in this recipe.
Obviously don’t use a fruit flavoured yogurt, like strawberry or peach!
Easy to adapt
Once you have the basic recipe, there are so many delicious ways to adapt this Easy Irish Soda Bread.
You can use different flours – most flours work in this recipe (but NOT self-raising or bread flour – see below). And you can have some fun adding ‘extras’ to the recipe, such as cheese, seeds, nuts, oats and dried fruit. You can even use this recipe to make soda bread rolls, instead of one large loaf!
Here are a few of my favourite variations on this easy soda bread recipe:
Use the correct flour!
One big mistake people make with soda bread is using the wrong flour. Soda bread should be made with plain flour NOT self-raising flour or bread flour. Using self-raising or bread flour will not give you a good result.
This recipe is, however, incredibly flexible, I have successfully tried many kinds plain flours, including white flour, wholemeal flour, granary flour, rye flour, spelt flour… as well as many combinations of these!
Can you use baking powder instead of baking soda?
No! It won’t work. You need to use baking soda (AKA bicarbonate of soda). It is the reaction between the acid in the yogurt and the baking soda that helps the soda bread to rise.
Why do you need to cut a cross in soda bread?
Because soda bread cooks quickly, if you don’t cut the big cross, you are likely to find the outside of the soda bread is cooked before the middle of the soda bread. Cutting a deep cross in the middle of the soda bread helps the heat to penetrate right to the centre of the bread really fast, so it cooks through properly.
So be brave and cut a really deep, clean cross – it should go almost to the bottom of the dough!
(Some people cut a cross in soda bread for superstitious reasons, as they believe the cross in the top of the soda bread will let the fairies out and/or ward off evil and bring good luck.)
What to serve with Irish Soda Bread?
Soda bread is delicious warm out of the oven, just as it is – or slathered with butter. It’s also wonderful with antipasti type foods, such as or cheese, olives and cold meats.
Alternatively, it is a brilliant accompaniment to soups and stews. Obviously it goes especially well with Traditional Irish Lamb Stew, but it also goes well with:
- Spicy Parsnip Soup
- Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Soup
- Easy Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash Soup
- Easy Carrot and Coriander Soup
- Easy Peasy Vegetable Soup
- Easy Leek and Potato Soup
(Shown here with my Immune System Boosting Soup.)
How long does soda bread keep?
Soda bread does not keep especially long. (Mostly because it is so delicious!) It is best eaten on the day you make it. The day after it tastes OK, but it’s usually starting to go a little stale. If you do have some left over the next day, I recommend that you toast it – toasted soda bread is very delicious!
Can you freeze soda bread?
Absolutely! Soda bread freezes really well. Just make sure you freeze it on the day you bake it and that it is completely cool and well wrapped (wrapping should be airtight – e.g. a freezer bag) before putting it in the freezer. You can freeze it as a whole loaf or cut it into slices first. It will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost at room temperature and either eat it at room temperature or toast it.
If you like this recipe…
…you might also like:
- Easy White Soda Bread
- Easy Wholemeal Soda Bread
- No Buttermilk Soda Bread (Vegan and Dairy Free)
- Super Simple White Bread
- Easy Homemade Naan Bread
- Easy 2 Ingredient Yogurt Flatbreads
Easy Irish Soda Bread with Yogurt
- 200 g plain wholemeal flour (see Note 1)
- 150 g plain white flour (see Note 1)
- ½ teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1 teaspoon baking soda (see Note 2)
- 300 g plain yogurt (see Note 3)
- Preheat your oven to 220C / 200C fan / gas mark 7 / 425F. Dust a non-stick baking tray with a little flour.
- In a large bowl, mix together thoroughly the two flours, salt and baking soda.
- Pour the plain yogurt into the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
- Bring the dough together into a ball using your hands. The dough should just come together into a ball, but shouldn’t be wet and sloppy. (If it doesn’t all come together, add a splash of water. If it’s too wet and sloppy add a touch more flour.)
- Roll the dough into a ball and place on your prepared baking tray.
- Flatten the ball a little and then cut a deep cross into it. The cross should go almost to the base of the loaf – but not quite!
- Sprinkle the loaf with a little plain white flour (optional).
- Bake the loaf in your pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes until cooked all the way through and golden on top.
- Ideally, serve warm – straight out of the oven!
- Be sure to use plain (all purpose) flour NOT bread flour or self-raising flour
- Be sure to use baking soda (which is the same as bicarbonate of soda) DO NOT use baking powder, which is a different thing entirely!
- Alternatively you can use 285ml buttermilk or, if you cannot get hold of buttermilk, you can make ‘fake’ buttermilk, using vinegar and milk instead. Simply combine 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar and 200 ml milk (regular or plant-based). Use this in place of the buttermilk in the recipe above.
- Suitable for freezing.
- Nutrition information is approximate and meant as a guideline only.
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