Small Batch Irish Soda Bread

Wednesday 13 March 2019

I had my DNA done several years ago and discovered that I am 27% Irish.  I was really excited about that.  I had not expected that at all.  

I have been celebrating Saint Patrick's Day with even more meaning ever since!  (They do say that everyone has a little bit of Irish in them!)

You might be tempted to think that this bread has a history that goes back hundred and hundreds of years.  It does not. 

 It, at best, only goes back to the mid 1800's when baking soda was introduced to the people of Ireland. 

It is a traditional recipe having started in a very poor country.  Most of the best recipes are, I think.  Simple ingredients put together in fabulously tasty ways! 

Leave it to the Irish to create a fabulous bread from simple ingredients like flour, soda, salt, sour milk or buttermilk and a tiny bit of butter. 

The salt and the soda work together with the buttermilk to give a beautiful rise to this very simple bread.

The cross cut in the top was originally done to ward off evil spirits or the devil and protect the household.  The Irish are very superstitious people.  Its all a part of their wonderful charm. 

Traditionally it would have been baked on a griddle or in an iron pot over a fire in an open hearth.  One can imagine the warmth and love of family being deeply associated with this bread.  It speaks to my heart. 

It goes together very quickly and can be baked and on the table in about 45 minutes, which makes it the perfect throw-together bread for when you have un-expected company pop by. 

This is a small batch recipe, designed for the smaller family.  With there only being two of us, it just makes sense. 

I like to break it apart into quarters at the cross  . . .

Here you can see the wonderful texture of it . . . . don't be tempted to use too many raisins. 

Today we enjoyed it warm with some jam and butter.  It went down a real treat!  Boy there are times when my heart longs for a nice big sweet mug of milky builder's tea.  Instead I had it with apple spice tea.

Yield: Makes one small loaf

Small Batch Irish Soda Bread

prep time: 15 minscook time: 35 minstotal time: 50 mins
Quick, easy and delicious!  A down sized recipe for the smaller family.


  • 140g plain flour (1 cup)
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 1 TBS cold butter
  • 35g raisins (1/4 cup)
  • 1 large free range egg yolk
  • 120ml buttermilk (1/2 cup)


  1. Preheat the oven to 220*C/425*F/ gas mark 7.  Line a small baking tray with baking paper.  Dust the baking paper with some flour. Set aside.
  2. Whisk the flour, sugar, salt and soda together in a bowl.  Cut the cold butter into bits and drop it into the flour mixture.  Rub it into the flour with a snapping motion using your fingertips.  Mix until it resembles coarse bread crumbs.  Stir in the raisins. Whisk together the egg yolk and the buttermilk.  Add all at once to the dry mixture and quickly stir together with a fork, just until combined.  Tip out onto a floured board and knead gently. (It may be quite sticky, just add a bit more flour if necessary.)  Don't over-knead.  Shape into a 4 inch round and pop onto the flour dusted baking tray.  Cut a deep cross into the top using a sharp knife without cutting all the way through.  Only cut about half way down.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes until golden brown and the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
  4. Serve warm or at room temperature.


If you think it is browning too quickly, cover lightly with foil.
Created using The Recipes Generator

This bread is tender and dense, with a lovely crisp crust. It will keep for several days, but you won't have it around that long.  Trust me on this!   If you are looking for a full sized Irish Soda bread, you can find my recipe for a large plain loaf (sans raisins) here

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  1. I love small bath recipes.thank you! When I made it I found it part bread part scone;) Not sure I made it right but twice..that happened;)

    1. You're welcome Monique. I would have to say your description of a soda bread is quite accurate. It is a cross between a bread and a scone! xo

  2. Oh I really enjoyed hearing about the history of the bread. I've made a plain loaf before to serve with soup, but I'd never thought to do it with raisins and have it much like a cream tea. You always have the best ideas! I think I'm going to make some tomorrow and will let you know how it goes.

    1. I hope you enjoy it Marie! I had the leftovers last night, just sliced and spread with butter while we were watching the telly. Two days later and still very tasty. It is a sticky dough, but don't worry, it works! xoxo

  3. I just made soda bread this afternoon -- a Paul Hollywood recipe. I'm copying yours and will have a bake-off between myself with the two recipes! Yours looks easier!

    1. I hope you enjoy it Jeanie! Fingers crossed! I find chef's tend to make things more complicated for some reason. I think they think everything they do has to be "cheffie" but really more often than not it is the simple things that are the best! xoxo

  4. Salted or unsalted butter?

    1. I used salted. Sweet butter or salted, it's up to you. As there is only 1TBS of butter in it I doubt it will make much of a difference.

  5. If I were to put this in a bread pan, what size should I use? This looks delicious and I can't wait to try it. So tired of the dry, hard, crumbly Irish soda breads commercially available...

    1. This is a very small loaf. I have never baked it in a loaf tin, so I would say no larger than a one pound loaf tin! But that is just a guess.

  6. I baked it in a boule-shaped mound as directed. My husband and I LOVED it--this recipe is a keeper!

    1. I am so pleased you and your husband enjoyed this Sue! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience! xo


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