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Ballymaloe White Soda Bread

We bake this bread every day at the cookery school, and it is very quick and simple to make at home too. This is the basic recipe but there are so many sweet and savoury variations that you can try – chocolate, raisins, cinnamon, cubes of crispy bacon, cheese, herbs . . . the possibilities are endless.

The deep cross in the loaf (see step 3) is supposed to let out the fairies – so that the bread won’t be jinxed by evil spirits! In reality, of course, it’s just to allow the heat to penetrate the loaf as it’s cooking. Makes 1 loaf.



White soda scones: Make the dough as above but flattened into a round approximately 2.5cm (1in) deep. Cut into scones and cook for 15–20 minutes at 230°C (450°F), Gas mark 8.

White soda bread or scones with herbs: Add 2–3 tablespoons freshly chopped herbs – such as rosemary, sage, thyme, chives, parsley or lemon balm – to the dry ingredients, and make as above.

Spotted dog: Add 100g (31/2oz) sultanas, raisins or currants, or a mixture of all three, to the dry ingredients, and make as above.

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» Top Wine Matches For This Recipe

Angus Hughson

Riesling, Pinot Noir and Rose are the best wines to pair with Ballymaloe White Soda Bread.


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Posted by DC15 • 5y ago • Report
I watch/and have watched far tooooo many cooking shows..I believe Rachel Allen is the best by far...She is an absolute genius in the kitchen, she explains everything so simply.I love her shows and she always makes me smile with happiness.
Posted by GA5 • 5y ago • Report
Help me pls, I need some/any 'fool proof' main course irish recipes, that I can cook & impress.
Posted by Libby • 5y ago • Report
I thought Rachel showed us some interesting and modern alternatives using the basic soda bread recipe. The foccacia bread recipe with olives, sundried tomatoes and olive oil is a good example of an old fashioned recipe given a modern makeover. Rachel's step by step approach allows you to easily follow her instructions at home.
Posted by Sandra6 • 5y ago • Report
this is just sooo easy and very delicious, keep them coming Rachel.. with your recipes I'm beginning to believe I can cook..
Posted by Deirdre13 • 5y ago • Report
I'm looking forward to making Rachels soda bread wjth currants. I have been living in Australia for 7 years, I long for Irish brown bread. I have started to make my own using the Mayo clinic recipe. Now its time to try something new!
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