A twist on traditional Irish soda bread, this no rise crusty cheddar and bacon bread is packed with melted cheese, savory meat and scallions.
There is one traditional St. Patrick’s Day recipe that my family always looks forward to each year, Irish soda bread! I make mine with a savory flavor explosion. Generous bits of chopped bacon, melted sharp cheddar cheese, and scallions in each crusty slice.
It is the perfect edible dipping “spoon” to enjoy with classic St. Patrick’s Day dishes, such as corned beef and cabbage or delicious stews. The best part is that each loaf is ready in under an hour. No need to wait for the dough to rise, it’s instant bread satisfaction. I guarantee that you won’t be able to resist eating the entire loaf hot and straight from the oven!
I have to tell you a secret. Every time I make this Irish soda bread I feel guilty. That’s because it is seriously so easy to make, but it looks like you took all day to create. It only takes 15 minutes to prepare, and the loaf comes together in one bowl.
The Irish soda bread is scored with a cross shape on top to help the heat in the oven penetrate the thickest part. These cuts help for quicker and more even baking, as well allows for the expansion of the dough as it rises for a nice thick round loaf.
I usually get the corned beef and cabbage going earlier in the day, and then make Irish cheddar soda bread about an hour or so before dinner is ready.
How this Irish soda bread recipe made so quickly
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 delicious.
I have done traditional loaves and sweet soda bread in the past. However, this Irish cheddar and bacon soda bread recipe 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!
I use sharp cheddar cheese, nitrite-free bacon, green onions and a hint of freshly cracked pepper to intensify the savory notes. The brown crust had a crunchy texture with a lovely gorgeous rise in the oven that resulted in a tender, chewy center!
The smell of smoky bacon and aromatic green onions are so enticing when you slice into a loaf that is still steamy and fresh out of the oven. Irish soda bread is best enjoyed when served warm, and the cheese is like lava.
Your guests will be sure to devour this soda bread, so you may want to double the recipe and make two loaves! I think this year I will be serving this with my Guinness corned beef stew recipe, yum! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
More Irish recipes
What is traditional Irish soda bread?
There are many variations of Irish soda bread. 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 the acid in the mixture (buttermilk), resulting in carbon dioxide (gas) releasing in the dough. This does not happen until heat rises to at least 176°F (80°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.
Cheddar and Bacon Irish Soda Bread
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
- ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
- 2 ounces sharp cheddar, cut into ¼-inch cubes
- 2 slices bacon
- 2 tablespoons green onions, sliced
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- 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.
- 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.
- 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, mix.
- Add the buttermilk to the flour mixture, mixing until combined.
- Knead for 1-2 minutes, until the dough is hydrated and holds together.
- 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 and 2-inches long.
- Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, or until the soda bread is lightly browned and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom of the loaf. If you have an instant-read thermometer, test the center of the bread for doneness, it's ready between 190-200°F.