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Piece of irish soda bread and butter
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5 from 1 review

Irish Soda Bread with Cheddar

This small loaf of Easy Irish Soda Bread with Cheddar is a quick bread recipe that does not require yeast.  Baking soda makes the bread rise and buttermilk keeps the bread soft.  For more flavor, we add a little butter and Irish Cheddar cheese, then bake to perfection with the ideal crusty exterior.  
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: Irish
Keyword: Irish Cheddar, Irish Soda Bread, No Yeast, Quick Bread, Small Loaf
Servings: 4 Bread Wedges
Author: Erin Cernich

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour cake or pastry flour work too
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, cold
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, grated and cold
  • 3/4 cup Irish cheddar cheese, grated and cold or any hard cheese

Instructions

  • If you don't have buttermilk - Add 2 and 1/4 teaspoons of vinegar or lemon juice to a liquid measuring cup. Fill the cup with milk to the 3/4 mark. Refrigerate the buttermilk for about 10-15 minutes, until it starts to curdle. Note - I recommend whole milk, but 2% or 1% will also work.
  • Preheat the oven to 400F degrees and adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, use a wooden spoon and stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the grated butter and approx. a 1/2 cup of the grated cheese, and stir to coat the pieces. Reserve the remaining cheese to sprinkle over the top of the loaf. Note - I recommend grating the cheese and butter. Grated butter distributes more evenly.
  • Pour the buttermilk over the top of the flour and stir with the wooden spoon - until the flour is dampened and a dough starts to form. The dough will be rough and scrappy.
  • Pour the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and working quickly, shape the dough into approximately a 5-inch ball and gently and ever so slightly flatten the top of the dough ball. Do not overwork, or knead the dough.
  • Transfer the dough loaf to the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese. Then, using a sharp knife, score the top of the dough in a deep cross (not all the way through). Note - the cheese may bake over the cuts in the top of the loaf, or may not. You will notice in my photos it did, and this is ok!
  • Bake the bread for 27 - 30 minutes, until the loaf is golden brown. Transfer the bread immediately to a wire cooling rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature. The bread is best enjoyed the day it is baked. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Grate the Cheese and Butter - When working with cold butter, I find grating it (rather than working it in with a pastry cutter), distributes the butter better without melting it.
  • Use Cold Ingredients - Keep the refrigerated ingredients in the fridge and ready to go when needed.  
  • Work Fast - This is not a dough that can sit on the counter.  It should be mixed quickly and get into the oven immediately.  Otherwise, we run the risk of the baking soda + buttermilk reaction not working to its full potential.  Translation - flat bread.
  • Don't Overwork - Try not to overmix or overwork the dough.  The result could be a chewy, tough bread.
  • High Altitude Bakers - No recipes adjustments are needed.  Just watch the bake time as the bread may not need the full 30 minutes.