Homemade Buttermilk for Irish Soda Bread

Recipes with Buttermilk - Irish Soda Bread


By Joe Cowan

Director of Operations


One of the great advantages of churning cream into butter is the byproduct that results. Cultured buttermilk is a traditional fermented drink and the “secret ingredient” in many successful baked foods. The inclusion of cultured buttermilk is crucial in softening wheat for applications that would be sub-optimal for a sourdough starter. The combination of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and buttermilk creates a rising effect after the reaction produces carbon dioxide. That is why buttermilk bread, cakes, and biscuits rise so readily. Furthermore, adding buttermilk to meat such as chicken or pork helps to soften the meat, due to the lactic acid in the buttermilk. It is a versatile and extremely useful asset to have available in your kitchen.


Irish Soda Bread


1 ¾ cup buttermilk (see recipe to make your own)

1 egg

4 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

3 tbsp maple sugar

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp baking soda

6 tbsp butter

1 cup currants




  1. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda together. In a large bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon, and then mix by hand until the mixture comes together in a large dough ball. Do not overwork.
  2. Add the currants and mix to combine. Let the dough sit in the bowl covered by a towel for 2-4 hours.
  3. Preheat a cast iron baking vessel or frying pan to 400 degrees. Place a piece of parchment paper down and then put the dough in the center of the pan. Score a large X in the top and bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes or until the crust is a deep golden brown.
  4. Allow it to cool fully before slicing as it will crumble readily while still hot.
  5. Serve with freshly churned butter.

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