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Dutch Oven Irish Soda Bread Recipe with Cherries

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.

Top-down view of a whole loaf of Soda Bread dotted with cherries over a green napkin on a wooden cutting board.

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!

Level view of slices of soda bread dotted with raisins sitting on a wooden cutting bread. Butter is melting down the slice and a white bowl of butter sits to the side.

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.

Front view of a loaf of Soda Bread dotted with cherries with a wedge removed next to a green napkin on a wooden cutting board.

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!

We LOVE baking bread! You can find all of our bread recipes here!

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Don’t forget to stop back and let me know how your dutch oven Irish Soda bread came out.

Level view of slices of soda bread dotted with raisins sitting on a wooden cutting bread. Butter is melting down the slice and a white bowl of butter sits to the side.
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5 from 8 votes

Dutch Oven Irish Soda Bread with Cherries

This Super Easy Irish Soda Bread recipe is a tasty quick bread that can be baked in any kitchen.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Servings 20 servings
Author Hostess At Heart

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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 cherries and knead to combine. Form a ball from the dough.
  • Put a piece of parchment paper on your work surface and turn out the dough. Shape the dough into a 2" thick round loaf. Cut a 1-inch cross through the top of the bread with a sharp or serrated knife.
  • Pick up the dough by grabbing the edges of the parchment paper and put the loaf into a 5-qt dutch oven. Cover the bread with the lid and bake for up to 55 minutes or when the bread reaches an internal temperature of 210° when tested with an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center. *The bread will sound hollow when tapped.
  • Allow the bread to cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Wrap in an air-tight to store.

Notes

This bread can also be baked on a baking sheet. If it starts to brown to much before it’s finished baking, cover it with a piece of foil.
The bread may sound hollow when tapped before it’s completely baked. I recommend using an instant-read thermometer and baking to an internal temperature of 210° F.

Nutrition

Sodium: 257mg | Calcium: 33mg | Vitamin A: 450IU | Sugar: 6g | Fiber: 3g | Potassium: 86mg | Cholesterol: 1mg | Calories: 177kcal | Protein: 5g | Carbohydrates: 37g | Iron: 1.8mg
This recipe was calculated using the exact brands and measurements I used to make this recipe. If you are following a strict diet please note changing anything will cause the nutritional info to change. My calculations are intended as a guide only.
Tried this recipe? That’s awesome!Mention @hostessatheart or tag #hostessatheart!
Recipe Rating




Linda ONEILL

Sunday 6th of March 2022

Why in the world would someone title the recipe Dutch Oven Soda Bread and then give directions to bake only on a baking sheet. Maybe I missed something.

Julie Menghini

Sunday 6th of March 2022

Ok, Linda, I messed up. I was looking at another soda bread recipe that I've done but have now corrected this one's instructions. Thank you for bringing it to my attention! ~Julie

Kathleen Pope

Sunday 1st of March 2020

Julie, I cannot wait to make this loaf!! I am not a fan of raisins in my baked goods, so I've typically stayed away from making a traditional Irish Soda bread -- but the cherries! Oh yes please!!

Julie Menghini

Tuesday 3rd of March 2020

John feels the same way so no raisins here LOL! Thank you Kathleen!

Jennifer A Stewart

Monday 18th of February 2019

Another stunning and amazingly easy bread recipe for us novice bakers~ Thank you!

Julie Menghini

Tuesday 19th of February 2019

Thanks, Jennifer!

Sandra Shaffer

Monday 18th of February 2019

This is just the recipe I need to get my hands baking bread! What a delicious and easy recipe.

Julie Menghini

Tuesday 19th of February 2019

Thank you, Sandra!

Brandi

Monday 18th of February 2019

This Dutch Irish Soda Bread looks absolutely WONDERFUL!!!!!!

Julie Menghini

Tuesday 19th of February 2019

Thank you Brandi!