Guinness Soda Bread - five minutes work and so tasty

Guinness Soda Bread - I challenge you to find an easier recipe. It takes five minutes to mix and the rest is waiting for the bake to finish. No bread machine is necessary - just a handful of ingredients, a large bowl, a loaf tin and a pair of hands. 

Soda bread is a 'quick leavening' bread. The European arm of the early American settlers used soda or pearl ash (we know it as potash) as a leavening agent for what were known as 'quick breads'. They could mix it quickly and easily and have it ready for the camp fire in no time at all. 

Irish bread was historically made on a griddle as a flatbread as the flours that were available at the time didn't have the necessary raising properties when combined with yeast. When it was discovered that baking soda provided the necessary leavening agent, it became increasingly more popular.

When high-gluten flours became commercially available, the popularity of Irish soda bread declined but the introduction of smoked salmon on restaurant menus in the 1980s provided the opportunity for a comeback. 


250 gms of plain flour (all-purpose flour, NOT strong bread flour)

250 gms wholemeal bread flour

15 gms bicarbonate of soda

1 teaspoon sea salt

150 gms porridge oats

1 tablespoon clear honey

1 tablespoon black treacle

250 mls of Guinness (if you use a 440 ml tin of Guinness, you'll have some left....see it as a bonus!) 

250 mls of buttermilk

(NB: If you don't have buttermilk to hand, take 250 mls of whole or semi-skimmed milk and add 25 mls of lemon juice. Leave it for 5 minutes to sour and thicken)

2 x 1 lb loaf tins (or 1 x 2lb loaf tins)

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. 


1. Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. 

2. Make a well in the centre and add the remaining ingredients.

3. Work the mixture with your hands until you have a loose, smooth and wet dough. 

4. Put the dough in the prepared tin(s).

5. Bake for 15 minutes at 200 degrees C. 

6. Turn the oven down to 170 degrees C and continue to bake for 35 minutes. 

7. Remove the bread from the tin and return the loaves to the oven, placing them directly on on a oven rack for a further 5 minutes until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. 

8. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. 

This bread will freeze. 

Happy baking....


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