Make delicious, crusty white bread in under 40 minutes – with no kneading, or proving! My Easy White Soda Bread is super simple to make and only uses 4 ingredients! Wonderful eaten just as it is or as an accompaniment to soups and stews.
Quick bread for impatient people – like me!
I am hugely passionate about soda bread – not only does it taste amazing, but it’s also unbelievably quick and easy to make: no kneading, no proving and only 4 simple ingredients!
Regular bread is not hard to make, but it is time consuming… and as I’ve shared before, I’m really not a fan of kneading, or waiting around for bread to prove – I am an impatient soul.
Soda bread, on the other hand, can be done and dusted in under 40 minutes – now that’s my kind of bread!
And I love how simple it is to make – just throw a few basic ingredients into a bowl, mix until you have a ball of dough, place on a baking tray, cut a cross and pop it in the oven.
30 minutes later you have delicious, warm, homemade bread that you just can’t get enough of!
Finally – A White Soda Bread Recipe!
Most soda bread recipes I’ve come across are for wholemeal soda bread, or contain a mix of wholemeal and white flours. And my previous recipes for soda bread have all been wholemeal.
But there is absolutely no reason why you can’t make soda bread white! When I realised recently that I did not have a white soda bread recipe on my website, I knew I needed to create one!
Should you use bread flour or plain flour in soda bread?
I usually use plain flour when making soda bread, but for this recipe, I decided to experiment with using strong white bread flour. I made one loaf using strong white bread flour and one using plain (all purpose) white flour – the result really surprised me!
The loaf made with plain white flour was FAR BETTER than the one made using strong white bread flour. I would never have guessed that to be the case!
So, if you make white soda bread, I STRONGLY RECOMMEND you use plain (all purpose) white flour rather than strong white bread flour.
Other tips for making white soda bread
In my experiments, I discovered two other important tips for making white soda bread.
The first was you need to use more salt when making white soda bread (compared to making wholemeal soda bread) – this is because white flour has less flavour than wholemeal flour, so more salt is needed to stop white soda bread tasting bland.
Obviously, you can experiment with this to find the right level for your tastes, but I found I needed 1.5 tsp salt per loaf (350g flour) – this works out at less than ¼ of a teaspoon per (generous) portion, so it’s still not excessive (just don’t eat the whole loaf, OK?)
The other was that I needed to lower the oven temperature. I normally cook wholemeal soda bread at 220C (200C fan / gas mark 7 / 425F), but I found at this temperature the white soda bread got burnt on the outside before it was fully cooked in the middle, and the crust was far too crusty (this is coming from a girl who really likes crusty bread!). So I lowered the oven to 180C (160C fan/ gas mark 4 / 350F) and it came out just perfectly.
This is also a great temperature to cook stews, so you can have a stew cooking and just pop in a loaf of soda bread towards the end of the cooking time.
Can you make soda bread without buttermilk?
Absolutely! To make soda bread without buttermilk, simply use 200ml/7oz regular milk with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice (apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar also work) stirred into the milk to sour it…it will work just fine!
If you prefer, you can use a 50/50 mixture of yogurt and milk in place of the buttermilk.
Alternatively, why not try my No Buttermilk Soda Bread, which is also vegan and dairy free?
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 buttermilk (or lemon juice/vinegar/yogurt) and the baking soda that helps the soda bread to rise.
Do you need to cut a big cross in soda bread?
Yes! 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 the deep cross on top helps the heat to penetrate right to the centre of the bread really fast.
So be brave and cut a really deep, clean cross – it should go almost to the bottom of the dough!
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 is usually starting to go a little stale. If you do have some left over the next day, I suggest you toast it – toasted soda bread is delicious!
Can you freeze soda bread?
Absolutely! Soda bread freezes really well. Just make sure you freeze it on the day you baked 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.
What to serve with soda bread?
Soda bread is delicious warm out of the oven, just as it is – or slathered with jam/honey/Nutella etc. 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. I made this particular loaf especially to go with my Easy One Pot Irish Lamb Stew, but it would also go brilliantly with:
Other recipes for soda bread
If you like my recipe for Easy White Soda Bread, you might like to try my other soda bread recipes:
Easy White Soda Bread
- 350 g plain white flour (all-purpose white flour)
- 1½ teaspoons salt (or to taste - see note 6)
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (see notes)
- 285 ml buttermilk (see notes)
- Preheat your oven to 180C / 160C fan/ gas mark 4 / 350F.
- Dust a baking tray (I actually use a pizza tray) with a little plain flour.
- Mix all the dry ingredients together thoroughly. Tip in the buttermilk and stir to combine.
- Keep stirring until the ingredients come together as a dough, then squidge together to form a ball.
- Place the ball of dough on your baking tray and cut a deep cross in the centre. (This is really important as it helps the centre of the bread to cook properly – so cut nice and deep, almost to the bottom.)
- If you wish, you can dust the loaf with a little flour, then place the bread in your preheated oven for 30 minutes.
- Serve with soup, stew, salad, or cheese, olives and cold meats.
- Baking soda is the same as bicarbonate of soda, however it is not the same as baking powder. Make sure you use baking soda/bicarbonate of soda in this recipe. Baking powder will not give the same result!
- Instead of buttermilk you can use 200ml/7oz regular milk with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar stirred in to sour it. Alternatively you can use a 50/50 mixture of yogurt and milk.
- You can make this recipe dairy free / vegan by using dairy free milk instead of regular milk, plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice, apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar.
- Flour does vary in absorbency, so you may find if you add all the buttermilk (or buttermilk alternative) your dough is too wet. To avoid this, add the liquid slowly and stop when the dough is soft and sticky but still able to hold a shape.
- If you find your dough is too wet, add extra flour until it is able to hold its shape.
- I have had a couple of comments about this recipe being too salty. Personally I find 1.5 teaspoons of salt to be just perfect for this size loaf (see the main blog post above for my reasoning), but taste is a very personal thing, so you may find 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of salt to be more to your liking.
- Nutrition information is approximate and meant as a guideline only.
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