Sourdough Irish Soda Bread

Sourdough Irish Soda bread is an easy and delicious way to use sourdough discard. Homemade soda bread is so much better than what you’ll find in the grocery store.

a loaf of sourdough irish soda bread with raisins on a table set for tea

If you don’t already have one, I can show you how to make a sourdough starter and how to feed a sourdough starter.

If you don’t have a starter, you can make traditional Irish Brown Bread, traditional Irish Soda bread or Oatmeal Apricot Soda Bread.

Recipe Ingredients

ingredients for irish soda bread in glass bowls.

How to make Sourdough Irish Soda Bread

two photos showing how to mix sourdough soda bread
  • Combine the buttermilk and sourdough discard.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.
two images showing how to knead sourdough soda bread
  • Mix the ingredients until they form a “shaggy” dough.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead just until all the flour is absorbed.
Two photos showing how to prepare soda bread for the oven
  • Form the dough into a smooth ball.
  • Brush the loaf with buttermilk and cut a deep “X” in the top of the dough.
  • Brush the top of the loaf with buttermilk and bake.

Recipe Tips

  • This dough is so easy to make you don’t need to use a mixer. Mixing by hand helps ensure that you won’t over work and toughen the dough. 
  • The “riper” your sourdough discard, the more tangy flavor you get in the loaf.
  • Cutting a deep X in the top of the loaf before it goes in the oven ensures that it will rise evenly without splitting in random places.
  • If the raisins on the surface of the dough burn in the oven, just pick them off (careful, they’re hot) when the bread comes out of the oven.
  • Sourdough Soda Bread is best the day it’s baked. Leftovers can be frozen, then defrosted and reheated.


Sourdough Soda Bread is best the day it’s baked, but will keep at room temperature for 2-3 days. Do not refrigerate soda bread. Soda Bread can be frozen as a loaf or pre-sliced.

One of my favorite ways to eat day-old sourdough soda bread is to generously butter a slice of bread then toast in on a griddle until it’s golden brown. Topped with a little jam, it’s heavenly.

a sliced loaf of soda bread with raising on a green towel
a slice of sourdough soda bread with butter and marmalade

Since you’ve got your starter fed, peruse the entire list of My Best Sourdough Recipes. Have fun!

I know you hate to throw away that sourdough discard. Check out these recipes that use sourdough discard.

More Irish inspired recipes

If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.

a slice of irish soda bread with butter and marmalade
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4.60 from 30 reviews

Sourdough Irish Soda Bread

Sourdough Irish Soda bread is an easy and delicious way to use sourdough discard. Homemade soda bread is so much better than what you’ll find in the grocery store.
Prep Time30 minutes
Bake Time45 minutes
Total Time1 hour 15 minutes
24 servings
Save Recipe


  • 17 ½ ounces unbleached all purpose flour (3 ½ cups, see note )
  • 1 ounce granulated sugar (2 tablespoons)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ½ ounces unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 6 ounces raisins (1 cup)
  • 12 ounces buttermilk (1 ½ cups)
  • 8 ounces sourdough discard (1 cup)


  • Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  • In a large bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Use your hands to work the butter into the dry ingredients until there are no pieces larger than the size of a pea. Toss the raisins with the dry ingredients.
    17 ½ ounces unbleached all purpose flour, 1 ounce granulated sugar, 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon table salt, ½ teaspoon baking soda, 1 ½ ounces unsalted butter, 6 ounces raisins
  • In a large measuring cup, combine the buttermilk with the sourdough discard. Add to the dry ingredients all at once and mix until almost combined. The dough may seem dry at this point but it will come together.
    12 ounces buttermilk, 8 ounces sourdough discard
  • Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead about 15-20 times to form a smooth ball. Place the loaf onto the prepared baking sheet. Use your hands to flatten the ball slightly. Use a sharp knife to cut a ½"-¾" deep X into the top of the loaf. Brush the loaf with buttermilk.
  • Bake until the middle of the loaf is 200 °F, about 45-50 minutes for a large loaf and about 30-35 minutes for small loaves.

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If measuring the flour by volume use the “dip & sweep” method. That is, dip the measuring cup into the flour bin, overfill it, then sweep away the excess.
This recipe makes one large or two smaller loaves. If you split the dough into two smaller loaves adjust the baking time accordingly. The recipe can also be halved to make one smaller loaf.
The bread is best the day it’s made, but will keep several days at room temperature. It will keep in the freezer for 1-2 months.


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 131kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 164mg | Potassium: 100mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 68IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 1mg
Have you tried this recipe?Mention @eileen.bakingsense or tag #bakingsense!

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Recipe Rating


  1. I love this recipw. What oven time should I work with if I split the doughin 2 small breads?

  2. I recently baked this Irish soda bread yet used dried tart cherries in place of raisins and it was amazing!!! Will do it again this weekend.

  3. I’m wondering if my baking powder or soda are old? Or maybe I got my liquid measurements off? What would you say might have gone wrong for a biscotti height finished product that just spread outwards instead of rising?

    1. Are you asking about the Sourdough Biscotti or the Sourdough Soda Bread. In either case, using too much liquid could result in spreading.

    2. I’m referring to the sourdough irish soda bread. It ended up spreading a ton. I’ll try again and add liquid gradually. My starter’s hydration may have been a bit off. Thanks!

  4. This is the best soda bread recipe I’ve ever made. The whole family loved it. I think it won’t be only for St. Patrick’s Day anymore :).
    I did think the suggested kneading time was a little long- I kneaded first 10 minutes, tops, and it was fine.

    1. The instructions are to knead the bread 15-20 times, not minutes. You only need to knead enough to bring the dough together.