- 1 and 3/4 cups buttermilk*
- 1 large egg (optional, see note)
- 4 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), plus more for your hands and counter
- 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cubed*
- optional: 1 cup raisins
Preheat oven to 400F, lower if you use a convection oven. Use a seasoned 10–12-inch cast-iron skillet (no need to preheat the cast iron unless you want to), or grease a 9–10-inch cake pan or pie dish. You can also use a 5-quart (or higher) dutch oven—grease or line with parchment paper. If using a dutch oven, bake the bread with the lid off.
Whisk buttermilk and one egg together. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt together in another bowl.
Cut cold butter into the flour mixture. Cutting cold butter into the flour is a crucial step. Coating the flour in cold butter guarantees a lovely flaky texture. You can use a fork, your hands, or a pastry cutter. Then add the mixture of buttermilk and eggs.
Bring the dough together with your hands. Using a very sharp knife, score the dough, allowing the center to bake. Bake until golden brown.
If the Irish soda bread recipe isn’t cooking in the center, it could be because the score wasn’t deep enough. That’s crucial to help the center cook evenly. You can always tent the loaf with foil to prevent the exterior from browning too quickly before the center cooks. The bread is ready to take from the oven when an instant-read thermometer reads 190°F.