Irish Soda Bread is loaded with sweet cherries. It is soft and tender and slightly sweet. With only 6 ingredients, it’s quick and easy to make.
Dutch Oven Irish Soda Bread with cherries is a quick and easy soda bread to make. It’s delicious as is but the cherries add just a little bit of sweetness. This is a very basic soda bread recipe. You can mix in a variety of ingredients to make it your own.
I first made Irish Soda Bread with Raisins as a surprise for my 92-year-old Irish mother-in-law. I couldn’t believe how quick and easy that bread came together!
She and I love family history. She’s shared some great recipes with me like this Raspberry Linzer Torte recipe. It was her mother-in-law’s recipe. That’s an old recipe!
The History of Soda Bread
What I’ve learned about this bread makes a lot of sense in regard to her heritage. It’s said that this bread didn’t actually originate in Ireland. The American Indians made bread using pearl ash a natural form of soda created from the ashes of wood before the existence of baking soda.
Once baking soda was introduced, Soda Bread recipes were created in Ireland, around 1830. It became a staple in Ireland when their people suffered financial difficulty. This bread has few ingredients and could be cooked without ovens.
Traditional Soda Bread Ingredients
Traditional ingredients for this bread – flour, baking soda, salt and “sour milk” (buttermilk). The buttermilk in the dough contains lactic acid, which reacts with the baking soda so you don’t need to use yeast in this bread.
Why is there a cross on top?
Scoring yeast bread keeps it from “blowing out”. The cross on this bread isn’t a score. I learned that it’s partly due to superstitious reasons. Families believed if they cut a cross on the top of the bread that it would ward off evil and protect the household.
John isn’t crazy about raisins but loves cherries so I made up a loaf. I let it brown just a little too much. The cherries were a little (a lot) dry and crispy.
I decided to try baking it in my dutch oven the way I do my Overnight Sourdough Bread. I removed the lid when 10 minutes of baking was left so it would brown. The bread browned nicely with the lid on so I covered it back up to finish baking. We loved the way it came out.
Tips for the perfect soda bread
- When an instant-read thermometer reads 210° the bread is done.
- Eat Soda bread the day you make it or freeze what you don’t plan on eating within a couple of days. I wrap it in plastic or use a zip lock bag and then wrap it again in foil. Use a marker to label and date it.
- Add the cherries before the bread comes together. This is a strong dough so adding it after the loaf comes together will make it difficult to incorporate them.
- Leftover bread makes amazing french toast!
If you like this recipe I’d love it if you left me a comment and a 5-star review!
Here are a few more recipes that I hope you’ll enjoy!
You may need
- Instant-Read Thermometer – I use this thermometer for perfectly cooked recipes.
- Lodge Cast Iron Enamel Dutch Oven – I’ve got dutch ovens that cost triple what this one does and it’s my favorite! It’s perfect for my bread, a stove-top sauce or oven-baked casserole.
- 2-1/2 cups buttermilk **
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cups dried cherries
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine all of the dry ingredients into a medium mixing bowl. Whisk to combine.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the buttermilk. Mix with a wooden spoon until flour is incorporated. Knead a few times by hand if necessary.
Add the raisins and knead to combine. Form a ball from the dough.
Turn the dough out onto the baking sheet and form a 2″ thick round loaf. Cut a 1-inch cross through the top of the bread with a sharp or serrated knife.
Bake for 30 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees F for an additional 10 minutes. The bread is done when browned and sounds hollow when tapped.
Allow the bread to cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Wrap in an air-tight to store.
You can make your own buttermilk by adding 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice per cup of milk. Let it sit for about 5 to 10 minutes and then add it according to the recipe instructions.
Recipe adapted from The Poco Loco Olsons