The base of this Irish soda bread is from Paul Hollywood who is pretty much the bread god of England. It’s also the easiest bread you will ever make as there is no yeast, no proving and no kneading. It’s partly whole wheat which I prefer, and I’ve added rosemary and lightly sautéed onions to give it a flavour boost. I loved it in my easy cheese and onion bread with herbs. With a base of just 6 ingredients it’s the perfect bread to make on the weekend for brunch, lunch or to serve with soup.

Paul Hollywoods Irish soda brea

If by chance you have any leftover, you could make a delicious Welsh Rarebit. Which is what I did. I hadn’t made this in ages and craved the molten cheesy goodness. After some research on the interwebs, I discovered there are so many variations to the Welsh Rarebit. In any case, beer or ale is used (yum) and some have eggs and others not. For me, I decided to make this recipe based on what I had on hand and decided not to open a beer to use a few tablespoons. I think egg yolk is essential to give it unctuousness and a silky texture. Melted mature cheddar, with Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce, is quite heavenly. You could add cayenne if you needed more spice or even a pinch of chilli flakes. There are so many possible variations. Next time I’ll finely chop up streaky bacon for a topping to the grill to a crisp.

This is a perfect light lunch in winter or a Sunday night supper in front of the telly.

Welsh rarebit on Irish soda bread

Recipe ~ Irish Soda Bread (adapted from Paul Hollywood)

You can keep this plain or add the rosemary and onions as I did. Or you could add whatever other flavours you like. Cheese, bacon, corn, chives, pimentos, olives…….

  • 250g all-purpose flour
  • 250g whole wheat or nutty wheat flour
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1tsp baking soda/bicarbonate of soda
  • 420ml buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 Tbs chopped rosemary
  • 2 brown onions, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp butter

Heat the butter in a frying pan, preferably non-stick and saute the onions for about 5 minutes on medium-low heat until they soften and start becoming translucent. You don’t want them to brown, but they retain texture. Allow to cool.

You can make this by hand or use a mixer with a paddle attachment. Place all the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix to combine. Add the buttermilk and cooled onions buttermilk and very quickly mix to incorporate. Do not over mix.

Tip out on a floured surface and bring the dough into a round ball. Flatten this slightly and cut 4 slits around the sides – about 1/4 of the way into the dough.

Lift the dough onto a lined baking sheet and bake in an oven that has been preheated to 200C for 35 – 45 minutes. It is done when it is browned on the outside and gives a hollow sound when tapped. You could also test by piercing with a sharp knife.

Recipe – Welsh Rarebit

  • 20g butter
  • 20g flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 free-range egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 60g mature Cheddar, grated
  • 4 slices of bread (it’s great with the Irish soda bread)

Melt the butter in a small pot and add the flour to make a roux. Add the milk and keep stirring until you have a smooth and thick sauce.

Add the mustard, a pinch of salt, a grind of pepper and Worcestershire sauce and stir. When the flour has cooked out, remove from the heat and while whisking add the egg yolks. When they are incorporated, mix in the cheese.

Place the bread on a baking tray and toast one side until brown under a hot grill. Remove and spread the Welsh Rarebit mix over the untoasted side and place under the grill again. Cook until bubbling and brown.

Welsh rarebit on Irish soda bread



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  1. Sam, this is perfect, thank you ! I definitely will be trying this, love the idea of the no kneading, yeast and proving. I enjoyed reading your Welsh Rarebit recipe as well, funny I was just thinking only yesterday. how long it has been since I have made it…yum 🙂

  2. Sam

    Awesome Lynne, its such a retro recipe but a reall goodie. Takes grilled cheese to another level.

  3. Ummm looks great.. you made me remember the “cheesy bread” I used to eat when I was a little kid 😀

  4. Angie@Angie's Recipes

    It looks fantastic! I love the add of rosemary and onion.

  5. I’ve never made a soda bread before.. and this one looks fantastic! Definitely love a good herbed bread with onions… the rarebit looks pretty delicious too. All that cheese? YUM.

  6. I did it today!The simplest thing I’ve ever done ..It leaves a nice flavour in the mouth and I love onions.I keep it in my oven for about 50 min. Today I put buttermilk but can I do it with regular milk?

  7. Sam

    Awesome Martha – Im so glad you liked it.

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