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Soda Bread without Buttermilk

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Learn how to make soda bread without buttermilk, a no yeast bread that’s super-fast and easy to make. You will only need five ingredients and about 45 minutes.

close up of small round crusty irish bread without buttermilk.

Learn how to make soda bread without buttermilk, a no yeast bread that’s super-fast and easy to make. You will only need five ingredients and about 45 minutes.

An easy Irish soda bread recipe that’s perfect not only to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day but for any other occasion. This soda bread without buttermilk is THE bread to bake on a lazy Sunday morning or an evening when you notice you don’t have enough bread for the family. You could also try the Cornbread Recipe without Buttermilk if you get the chance.

Why should you make this delicious quick bread?

  • Fast: It takes 45 minutes to make, and you can serve it almost immediately; just let it get cool enough to handle.
  • Easy: There is no yeast proving, no kneading, no rising time involved. You will only have to stir the ingredients with a spoon.
  • Cheap: Only five simple ingredients and no buttermilk. Buttermilk is affordable but is not exactly the product you always happen to have in the fridge. But no worries, this soda bread without buttermilk is just as delicious as ever.

Expert tips

  • Use a digital kitchen scale to measure the ingredients when baking; it guarantees for best results (Amazon affiliate link).
  • Flour:
    • The amount of flour you need depends a little on the sort of flour you are using; I sometimes need to add a little more when stirring the ingredients.
    • Have a look at the images to see what the dough is supposed to look like, and add a bit of extra flour in small additions to help the dough reach the desired consistency.
  • Don’t knead the dough; handle it just long enough to shape it. If you knead it, the bread will be stodgy/doughy.
  • Bake the loaf immediately after shaping it. The baking soda will lose its power if you leave it lying around.

Five basic ingredients

bowl of flour, jug of milk, bowls with vinegar, salt and baking soda.

Flour:

  • All-purpose flour.
  • However, you can use other types of flour as well. I often make the no buttermilk soda bread with spelt flour (white, whole, or a mixture). Or I replace about 1/2 of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour.

Whole milk and vinegar:

  • To replace the buttermilk. The vinegar reacts with the milk, helping the bread rise.
  • I often use apple cider vinegar, but white wine vinegar is also great.
  • You can use lemon juice instead of vinegar.

Baking soda:

  • Also called bicarbonate of soda. It acts as a leavening agent; it reacts with acid and allows the dough to rise.

Step-by-step instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit/ 230 degrees Celsius. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. You can also bake this easy Irish bread in a lightly buttered cast-iron skillet. Some people also like to use a baking stone, but I’ve never tried that (sounds good, though).
  • Combine: Mix dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, and salt) in a large mixing bowl. Whisk well to distribute the soda and salt evenly (1). Mix milk and vinegar in a jug (2). Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the milk mixture (3). Stir to combine (4).
collage of two pictures of mixing flour with baking soda in a bowl and milk with vinegar in a jug.

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collage of two pictures of stirring flour and milk to make bread.

  • Shape: Sprinkle the work surface with 1 tablespoon of flour. Turn the dough onto the floured surface and sprinkle it with a little bit of flour. Knead gently with floured hands, only 4-5 times, to bring the relatively sticky dough into shape (5). Tidy the dough around the edges to have a round loaf and transfer it to the baking sheet.
  • Cut a deep cross with a serrated knife. The cut gives the bread its specific looks and helps the center of the loaf bake evenly (6).
collage of two pictures of round shaped dough.

  • Bake at high temperature for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees Fahrenheit/ 200 degrees Celsius and continue baking for 20 minutes or until the soda bread without buttermilk is baked through.
  • Check! Thump its bottom with the finger; it should sound hollow. If it doesn’t, allow the loaf for 5 more minutes in the oven.
  • Let cool on a wire rack for about 30 minutes before cutting.

Recipe variations

  • Flour: we’ve already covered this above; replace some of the all-purpose flour with wholemeal flour. Or make the no buttermilk soda bread with spelt flour.
  • Seeds: Add seeds (sesame, sunflower, pumpkin seeds, flaxseed) to the dough. Brush the dough with a bit of milk and sprinkle the top of the bread with more seeds before baking it. I love to add about 1 teaspoon of caraway seeds as well.
  • Oats: Add about 1-2 tablespoons to the dough and sprinkle more on top.
  • Cheese: Cut some Cheddar into tiny cubes and add them to the dough. Or sprinkle the dough with grated cheese before baking.
close up large slice of no buttermilk soda bread.

Recipe FAQ

Why is the bread a bit dense?

It’s supposed to be like this, a little dense but not doughy. The yeast makes the dough rise and the bread fluffy, but there is no yeast in this recipe. However, the texture is one of the reasons I love no buttermilk soda bread.

Why is the bread doughy?

It shouldn’t be. If it is, it might be that you added too much liquid, kneaded the dough longer than necessary, or that the bread was not baked long enough.

Will the bread taste like vinegar?

Absolutely not. You need a small amount of vinegar because it will react with the milk and make the bread rise, but you will not taste it at all.

Can I make the recipe vegan/dairy-free?

Replace cow milk with vegan milk.

Can I make soda scones?

Yes, shape the dough, flatten it slightly, and cut it into scones. Bake the scones at 450 degrees Fahrenheit/ 230 degrees Celsius for about 10 minutes.

How to store?

It’s best served on the day you’ve baked it, but it’s also great the next day.
It will keep for 2-3 days; you can toast the slices to refresh them a little.
Freeze the loaf or the slices in freezer bags.

How to serve it?

  • This fantastic homemade crusty bread is delicious when still a bit warm. Spread a little cold butter on the warm bread and add a sprinkle of flaky salt; it can hardly get any better.
  • It is also excellent in the morning slathered with butter and jam; it’s perfect with soups, stews, or casseroles. Try it with the Easy 4-Ingredient Potato Soup, Panera Black Bean Soup, or Lebanese Lentil Soup.
overhead view of a round loaf of irish soda bread made without buttermilk.

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sliced loaf of bread with jam and butter besides.

Soda Bread without Buttermilk

Learn how to make soda bread without buttermilk, a no yeast bread that's super-fast and easy to make. You will only need five ingredients and about 45 minutes.
5 from 3 votes
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Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Irish
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 188kcal
Author: Adina

Ingredients  

  • 550 g all-purpose flour + 2 tablespoons 20 oz/ 4 ⅔ cup, Notes 1,2
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoon fine sea salt or Kosher
  • 400 ml full-fat milk 13.5 oz/ 1 ¾ cup, Note 3
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar Note 4

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit/ 230 degrees Celsius. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  • Mix flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk well to distribute the soda and salt evenly.
  • Mix milk and vinegar in a jug.
  • Stir dough: Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the milk mixture. Stir to combine.
  • Knead: Sprinkle the working surface with 2 tablespoons of flour. Turn the dough onto the surface and sprinkle it with another tablespoon of flour. Knead gently with floured hands only 4-5 times to bring the dough into shape.
  • Shape: Tidy the dough around the edges and transfer it to the baking tray. Cut a deep cross with a sharp knife.
  • Bake at high temperature for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees Fahrenheit/ 200 degrees Celsius and continue baking for 20 minutes or until done.
  • Check: Thump the base of the bread with the finger; it should sound hollow if it doesn’t allow the loaf 5 more minutes in the oven.

Notes

  1. A digital kitchen scale will give you the most precise measure ensuring the best bake possible.
  2. Replace ½ of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat or spelt flour.
  3. For a vegan/dairy-free version, use non-dairy milk instead, for instance, soy or oat milk.
  4. Apple cider or white wine vinegar.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 188kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 449mg | Potassium: 93mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 54IU | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @thefastrecipe or tag #thefastrecipe!

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