Most breads require LOTS of kneading to make the bread light and airy, but kneading dough can take time and not to mention lots and lots of elbow grease (talk about an arm workout!).

Lucky for us, this delicious recipe requires neither yeast nor kneading (though you can knead it if you wish, but no more than 5 times!)

Following this recipe, you can have a tasty and crusty loaf in no time. This is a variation on traditional soda bread and is a bread that you could easily make several times a week – the time saved in kneading makes it a perfect weekday bread, even on the busy days.

The ingredients take less than 5 minutes to weigh and mix, and the bread is moulded into shape in less than 2 minutes!

What Does It Taste Like?

Think Irish Soda Bread, rather than your everyday white sandwich bread. Because we’re using baking soda instead of yeast, this loaf is more dense than your average white bread. Having said that, it does have a light crumb and a great crust! It also has a slight nutty taste thanks to the wholemeal flour.

Prep Time

5 minutes to weigh ingredients, 2 minutes to mould loaf.

Cook Time

40 minutes bake time at 180 C / 375 F.

Ingredients & Materials Needed

– 2 cups (300g) white flour (plain / all purpose)

– 1 3/4 cups (265g) wholemeal flour (wholewheat)

– 2 – 3 tbsp Extra Flour (either flour, for dusting)

– 1 1/2 tsp baking soda (bi-carb)

– 1 1/2 tsp salt

– 2 cups (500ml) buttermilk , fridge cold

– Mixing Bowl

– Baking Sheet

– Knife (for scoring)

– Wooden Spoon

Bread Baking Tips Specific To This Recipe

1. 3 minutes into oven – Once you’ve added the buttermilk, try to get it into the oven within 3 minutes. This is because buttermilk activates the baking soda. So the second it is added, the baking soda is fizzing away, ready to life the dough. If left, it loses its firepower = dense dough.

2. Less Handling/Kneading the Better – This is technically a 10 second knead dough, only handled to mould into shape. The less this no yeast dough is handled the better. This leads to a moister, softer crumb.

3. The Wetter the Dough, The More Moist the Crumb – Only use enough flour to shape and move the dough.

Irish Soda Bread Baking Notes

1. Flour – wholemeal flour gives this soda bread a mild nutty flavour. Coarse or fine ground is perfectly fine. This can be made using just plain/all purpose flour but it is quite plain in flavor. Don’t waste your ‘precious’ bread flour on this recipe either, it’s a no yeast bead so won’t make much difference. Don’t bother using bread flour – it’s wasted on this no yeast bread.

2. Baking soda – aka bicarbonate soda is 3x more powerful than baking powder. Stronger rise power required for this no-yeast bread. Make sure your baking soda is fresh otherwise you might end up with a flat loaf.

3. Don’t have any Buttermilk? Here’s how to make your own:

What you need: 1.75 cups (435ml) + 1 tbsp of full fat milk

1 tbsp white vinegar or lemon juice (or other clear vinegar)

  • Mix the milk and lemon juice together, set aside for 15 minutes, or until it’s congealed on the surface. Then use in place of buttermilk in recipe.
  • Volume is just shy of 2 cups of buttermilk (per recipe) because this substitute is thinner so you need to use a touch less otherwise dough gets too wet.

4. Dough stickiness – use more flour as you need. The trick is to use just enough flour to make the dough manageable because stickier dough = more moist bread.

5. Variations – Love to add more flavor to your bread? Why not try these terrific variations. Simply stir in with dry ingredients.

  • Oats – brush surface with extra buttermilk and sprinkle with oats.
  • Raisins! Stir in 1 cup for a sweeter dough
  • Seeds! Pumpkin, linseeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, poppyseed. Stir through and sprinkle on top, about 1/2 cup. 

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6. Storage – stores well for 3 days in an airtight container, 4 to 5 days in the fridge. Or freeze it for months.

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How to Make:

  1. Preheat oven to 220C/430F (200C/390F fan).
  2. Line baking tray with baking paper.
  3. Combine both flours (plain & wholemeal, not extra flour), baking soda and salt in a bowl. using a whisk.
  4. Add in the buttermilk, stir until it’s too hard to stir anymore.
  5. Sprinkle 2 tbsp Extra Flour onto work surface, scrape out dough, sprinkle with more flour.
  6. Gently mould dough into a ball. You don’t need to knead, but if you do, don’t do it more than 5 times)
  7. Transfer dough to tray, pat into approx. 2.5cm/1″ thick disc.
  8. Cut cross on surface 1cm / 0.3″ deep using serrated knife.
  9. Turn oven down to 200C/390F (180C/350F fan) and bake for 20 minutes..
  10. Bake further 20 minutes, or until the base sounds hollow when tapped in the middle.
  11. Transfer to wire rack and cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing. This mixture should yield 12 servings.

Not sure if it’s cooked? Take it out of the oven and give it a tap, it is done it will sound hollow.

Remember, because the loaf doesn’t have much time to rise, it will never achieve a particularly light texture. This is more a hearty, rustic bread recipe.


And there you have it, a simple, easy to make kneadless and yeastless bread recipe!