Sourdough Irish Soda Bread

This Irish Soda Bread post is a part of a HUGE sourdough collaboration. Check out all of the other recipes below!

sourdough Irish soda bread

What is Irish Soda Bread?

So, I am not the most worldly eater. I have not tried many things, but I am working on it! I have never had Irish Soda Bread before and I really only had a small grasp on what it was before I made this recipe. This just goes to show you should always try new sourdough recipes because more often than not, you’ll surprise yourself! When I am writing this, it is almost St. Patty’s Day, so this feels like perfect timing to try it out! It seems like a delicious way to celebrate my Irish heritage (Ancestry.com tells me I am 2% Irish so that’s clearly something to celebrate).

Irish Soda Bread simply uses baking soda as a leavening agent instead of yeast like normal bread. The theory is that Irish Soda Bread came about during time of financial strife in Ireland (the Irish Potato Famine) and came out of necessity due to lack of ingredients.

Many people add seeds, nuts, orange zest, or berries to give this bread a little more flavor. But today, of course, we will add flavor with sourdough.

If you’re new here and haven’t made a sourdough starter yet, check out my post on how to make a sourdough starter right away!

spreading jam

What To Do When Your Sourdough Starter is Sad

Let’s be honest here… Even the best homesteaders can neglect their sourdough starter sometimes. I have been having some typical first trimester sickness and feeding my stinky sourdough starter sometimes falls to the bottom of my list. After not feeding her for a few days, she was not looking like her normal bubbly self.

You do NOT want to make regular bread with a sad starter. It won’t rise correctly and will probably be sad too. But don’t fret! There are a ton of other recipes you can make still as long as you still have a bubble or two. These recipes are known as sourdough discard recipes. I have discard recipes for sourdough pancakes and a sourdough skillet on the blog!

Irish Soda Bread came to mind during this sad sourdough time (also because it’s almost St. Patrick’s Day) when I am writing this) because it does not have to rise (it also doesn’t need sourdough, but we will get to that later). You can still use sourdough discard in recipes that don’t require a rise. I find that I can bring my starter back to life quickly by using her and then giving her a nice large feed, and that’s what I did today!

sourdough irish soda bread with jam


What kind of flour should I use to make Irish Soda Bread?

I used all purpose white flour, but you can also use a whole wheat flour or a bread flour. The beauty of making such a rustic loaf is that it is very forgiving. Traditional Irish soda bread recipes may even use Irish flour, or coarsely ground whole wheat or whole grain flour made from red hard wheat.

Why Make Irish Soda Bread with Sourdough?

Obviously traditional Irish Soda Bread does not require sourdough, so why use it? There are two reasons:

  1. Flavor- Sourdough will add that wonderful tangy flavor to a somewhat boring bread
  2. Nutrients- Sourdough has a lot of great properties for gut health

What Do You Eat With Sourdough Irish Soda Bread?

This particular recipe is sweet and pairs perfectly with butter, jam, honey, or even cream cheese. I opted for a locally made Jalapeno Cranberry Jam. Can you say YUM!? I also think it might pair particularly well with some green beer or a Guinness, but that’s just me.

Watch Me Make Sourdough Irish Soda Bread

Sourdough Irish Soda Bread Recipe

Since I am brand new to Irish Soda Bread, I had to get a little help on this one. The original recipe that inspired this post is from The Gingered Whisk. She also has an amazing Irish Potato Soup Recipe you need to check out to go with the bread!

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Sourdough Irish Soda Bread Ingredients

  • Wet Ingredients
    • 1 cup sourdough discard (aka your sad starter)
    • 1/2 cup buttermilk
    • 1 egg
    • 2 TBSP butter
  • Dry Ingredients
    • 2 cups flour plus some to dust baking sheet
    • 1/2 cup rolled oats
    • 1 TBSP sugar
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
    • 1/2 tsp baking soda
irish soda bread dough

Sourdough Irish Soda Bread Recipe

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or use stone bakeware or place in Dutch oven
  2. Whisk together the wet ingredients (sad starter, egg, butter and buttermilk). You can use a stand mixer if you want, but I don’t think it is necessary.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients (2 cups flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, and salt)
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix together to form a sticky dough (Too dry, add more buttermilk. Too wet, add more flour)
  5. Knead dough on floured work surface a few times. You don’t need to knead this a ton. If you over-knead, you may end up with a dense loaf of bread.
  6. Lightly flour your baking sheet and place the ball of dough in the center
  7. Scour the top of the bread with a deep X shape
  8. Brush the top of the dough with buttermilk
  9. Bake 35-40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown
  10. Let cool 15 minutes before cutting
  11. Spread with your favorite topping and Slainte!
holding loaf of irish soda bread

HUGE Sourdough Collaboration

I have teamed up with some of my favorite bloggers to bring you 17 total sourdough recipes! Check out their blogs below or click a picture to see the recipe!

Did you even know that there were THIS many ways to use your sourdough starter? I cannot wait to try some more of these. Good thing I am pregnant and don’t have to look good in a bathing suit this summer…

Check Out These Other Bloggers!

  1. Living Like We’re Country
  2. Church Street Homestead
  3. Riggs Creek Farmhouse
  4. Country Homemaking
  5. Hearts Content Farmhouse
  6. Home Grown Hopes
  7. Leeco Honey
  8. Loving Grace Blog
  9. The Mountain Farmhouse
  10. Little Lili’s
  11. HR Homestead
  12. Our Gabled Home
  13. Spruce Street Homestead
  14. Rainie Robinson
  15. Texas Farmstead Living
  16. Crooks Family Farm

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  1. Thanks for explaining what Irish soda bread is! Now the next time I’m out of yeast but craving bread I’ll know what to do.

  2. I love that you explained if your sourdough looks sad. I needed to know that information! Delicious-looking bread!

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