Irish Treacle Soda Bread

March 15, 2012

There is an unspoken rule in our household. The Captain does the bread and I do the pastries and cakes.

I know how incredible the home made stuff is and even though I adore the aroma of fresh bread (who doesn’t?), I just don’t seem to get down with the yeast. I guess it doesn’t help that every time I wanted to, my stale yeast has long been dead and buried. I could get the man to teach me more but every time he starts going off about the science-y part and bread formulas, I get all glassy eyed and start thinking of puppies.

But soda breads are more up my alley. Now I’m definitely not the right person to explain the uber technical stuff since I’m more like the weird history girl-from-medieval-camp than scientist. But in a nutshell; rather than relying on yeast for oomph to make a bread rise, soda breads uses the gas from the fizzy combo of bicarb soda and acid to give it lift off.

The good thing about this is there is no need for the long wait while you wait for the dough to rise. The pay off though is that you have to work quickly with a light hand to get the bread into the oven asap and it’d never be as light, airy and fluffy than their yeast counterparts. But it does have its place. I love the denseness and it makes a killer accompaniment to a thick creamy hearty soup or a chunky Irish stew. It’s also awesome as a meal on its own rather than a sidekick. Think toasted with a topping of mustard, cold cuts and cheese or simply adorned with good butter and the tiniest flakes of smoked sea salt. Or for a sweeter touch, a gentle cascade of honey does the trick.

Irish Treacle Soda Bread
Cook Time
45 min
Cook Time
45 min
  1. 250g plain flour
  2. 250g wholemeal flour
  3. 150g rolled oats
  4. 15g bicarbonate soda
  5. 10g salt
  6. 500ml buttermilk*
  7. 2 Tbl (30ml) black treacle
  8. 2 Tbl (30ml) golden syrup (or honey)
  1. Preheat oven to 200°C and line a flat baking tray with non-stick baking paper. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the dry ingredients then make a well in the centre. Pour in the liquid ingredients then using your fingers, lightly combine into a loose and wet dough. You might need to add a little more flour to bind everything together depending on the consistency of your buttermilk. Don’t over-mix or knead.
  2. As best as you can, pat the dough with floured hands to a circular mound then place on your baking tray. Cut a cross over the bread then bake for 45 minutes. It is ready when it sounds ‘hollow’ when you tap the bottom of the bread. Transfer to a wire rack, lay a slightly damp tea towel over the top then leave to cool completely (the tea towel will help keep the moisture in and the crust from being tooth-breaking).
  3. Best eaten on the day or toasted the next.
  1. * For buttermilk in a pinch, add two tablespoons of white vinegar or lemon juice in a measuring jug then pour enough milk to make it 500ml. Stand for 10 minutes to get slightly curdly then use. Bear in mind that the bread might be denser than if you were to use a proper buttermilk.
  2. Recipe slightly adapted from Richard Corrigan, an Irish Michelin-star chef, who wrote a brilliant cookbook and memoir of his life growing up on a farm in Ireland, The Clatter of Fork and Spoons: Honest Happy Food (highly recommended reading!).
Citrus and Candy

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

greenhouse effect definition April 25, 2013 at 17:37

Good information. Lucky me I recently found your blog by accident (stumbleupon).

I have saved it for later!


johnnysenough hepburn May 23, 2012 at 08:00

Was never especially keen on treacle scones whilst growing up. Yet, this sounds heavenly!


nicole March 26, 2012 at 14:32

I want to try to bake these..thanks for your ingredients and for sharing the methods for baking it.


SarahKate (Mi Casa-Su Casa) March 25, 2012 at 17:43

Oh, I love love love soda bread. My sweet Irish aunties all make their own versions of soda bread and each is different but delicious. My favourite way to eat it is with spicy English mustard, thick sliced ham and a strong cheddar.


Susan March 24, 2012 at 01:00

Oh my sainted Aunt! What is it with the drizzle thing that gets me every time?? Last post it was THAT caramel sauce and now the honey!! Your photos are so beautiful and evocative! Well done! Susan


Born25 March 23, 2012 at 01:00

I want also to explore on how to prepared this Treacle Soda Bread, this is truly delicious and I love to bring this to the taste of my family…


Nancy37 March 22, 2012 at 21:28

Thanks for sharing this recipe, Irish Treacle Soda Bread is really delicious…


Cindy March 21, 2012 at 06:11

Homemade bread. Mmmm..that smell ! Altought i dont like the use of soda – i prefer slow natural growth.


Debra March 20, 2012 at 14:11

I have so much love on Soda Bread, and your version of it looks very good too. I will surely try this recipe you shared.


Rhonda (The Dainty Baker) March 20, 2012 at 11:51

Love the make over darl! aww wish i had someone in the house who could make me awesome bread like this!


Jesslie March 20, 2012 at 11:10

The bread is very mouth-watering…Anyway, I hope i can make my own version of this bread…


Gastronomy Gal March 19, 2012 at 15:31

that honey dribbling down looks AMAZE! You are talented lady- everytime I look at your photos I sigh in amazement.


The Food Sage March 18, 2012 at 12:06

I suspect my heavy handedness would come back to haunt me if i attempted this. Baking is not my forte. Love your work, though.


Brien27 March 17, 2012 at 12:28

Yummy! This is really interesting and delcious, mouth watery again… :lol:


Janine March 16, 2012 at 14:03

soda bread is not too popular here, and I’m not sure why I haven’t tried it myself – your photos look so good that I’m definitely gonna try this this weekend! love treacle with anything :)


Nic@diningwithastud March 16, 2012 at 12:54

Oh I love Richard Corrigan! Ever since Series 1 of Great British Menu :D


Tina @ bitemeshowme March 16, 2012 at 08:22

This looks amazing. You make it seem really easy Karen. Thank you for sharing


thelittleloaf March 16, 2012 at 08:03

Your bread looks amazing…you should totally try yeast breads too, you’re such an incredible baker!


Angie@Angie's Recipes March 16, 2012 at 06:22

Love soda bread and yours sounds and looks terrific treacle!


meatballs & milkshakes March 16, 2012 at 01:24

That looks amazing! I think I will have to try it out this weekend!


Sara (Belly Rumbles) March 16, 2012 at 00:15

Irish do bread well. Never ever thought it until I married one. Now at every family get together there is a stack of homemade breads on offer, yum! Love the look of yours Karen.


baker in disguise March 15, 2012 at 15:24

It’s been on my must-do list for a while..just because its bread without much kneading!! brilliant photographs!!


Steph March 15, 2012 at 14:36

Mmm I love treacle. Soda bread is totally my kinda bread, I’m too impatient to wait for yeast dough to prove!


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