Irish Cheddar and Bacon Soda Bread

irish cheddar and bacon soda breadMaybe its just me but it kinda seems like Irish soda bread has gotten a bad rap lately. People tend to assume that it can be hard, dry and sort of boring. Regardless, if properly cooked it can be the perfect edible “spoon” to enjoy with classic St. Patrick’s Day dishes, such as corned beef and cabbage or delicious stews. I have made traditional loaves and sweet soda breads in the past, however this year I wanted to try something more savory. This Irish cheddar and bacon soda bread is my favorite rendition so far! I even received a stamp of approval from my half Irish husband Jason. It probably doesn’t hurt that I incorporated his favorite ingredient, bacon!

cutting into irish soda bread loaf

This Irish cheddar and bacon soda bread recipe can be made and ready to eat in a hour! Don’t forget to pair this with a corned beef dish. Since the leavening agent is baking soda instead of using yeast to make the bread rise that means the prep time is quick and easy. Essentially known as a “quick bread” you can add your favorite ingredients to make this soda bread really delicious. I used a sharp cheddar cheese, nitrite free bacon, green onions and a hint of freshly cracked pepper to intensify the savory notes. The crust had a crunchy texture with a nice gorgeous rise in the oven that resulted with a tender chewy center!

bacon cheese irish soda bread slices

When preparing this Irish bacon and cheddar soda bread recipe, start the process about an hour before you are ready to serve your meal. Soda bread is best enjoyed when served hot and with this recipe the cheese would still be melting and butter can be easily slathered onto each yummy slice. The smell of the smoky bacon and aromatic green onions are so enticing when you cut into a loaf that is still steamy and fresh out of the oven. Your guests will be sure to devour this soda bread, so you may want to double the recipe! This soda bread is the perfect compliment to my Guinness beef stew recipe. Happy St. Patrick’s day!

TIP: There are many variations of Irish soda bread, however they all typically contain flour, baking soda and dairy (milk, buttermilk, yogurt, even sour cream). The magic in Irish soda bread is baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), the leavening agent that allows the dough to rise without hours of proofing. The baking soda reacts with acid in the dough (buttermilk), resulting in carbon dioxide (gas) releasing in the dough. This does not happen until heat rises to at least 80 degrees C in the oven. The carbon dioxide causes the dough to expand and rise, then proteins harden and set, giving the characteristic appearance and texture of bread. Irish soda bread provides instant gratification to your guests in less time and effort for the chef,  score!
Irish Cheddar and Bacon Soda Bread
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Serves: 1 loaf
A twist on traditional soda bread, this crusty Irish cheddar and bacon soda bread is packed with melted cheese, savory meat and scallions.
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 2 ounces sharp cheddar, cut into ¼ inch cubes
  • 2 slices cooked bacon, chopped
  • 2 green onions, washed and cut into thin slices green part only
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, sprinkle a small amount of flour onto the sheet where you will be placing the bread.
  2. Cook the bacon over medium heat in a sauté pan until crispy on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Cool, chop and reserve the bacon.
  3. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, black pepper and sugar, whisk together until combined. Add to the dry mixture the cheddar, bacon and green onions, combine together. Add the buttermilk to the flour mixture, mixing until combined. Knead for 1-2 minutes, until the dough is hydrated and holds together.
  4. Form dough into a round loaf and transfer to the floured parchment paper lined baking sheet. Cut a cross into the top of the dough, about ½ inch deep. Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until the soda bread is lightly browned and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom of the loaf. Serve warm!


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