Mary Berry Soda Bread Recipe

Mary Berry Soda Bread
Yields: 1 Serving Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 15 Mins Cook Time: 50 Mins Total Time: 1 Hr 5 Mins

Mary Berry’s Soda Bread is a heartwarming, rustic loaf that embodies the simplicity and comfort of homemade baking. This no-fuss recipe brings to your table a bread that’s delightfully crusty on the outside and tenderly soft on the inside. It’s the perfect accompaniment to a hearty stew, a smear of butter, or your favorite jam.

In this article, I will show you how to make soda bread using the recipe from Mary Berry, one of the most famous and respected British bakers. Mary Berry is known for her simple and foolproof recipes that always deliver great results. Her soda bread recipe is no exception. It uses only a few basic ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry, and it takes less than an hour from start to finish.

What is Mary Berry Soda Bread?

Mary Berry soda bread is a type of bread that is made without yeast, using bicarbonate of soda and buttermilk as the leavening agents. It is a traditional Irish bread that is easy to make and has a crusty exterior and a soft crumb. Mary Berry is a famous British baker who has a simple and foolproof recipe for soda bread that uses only a few basic ingredients.

Why You Love this Recipe

There’s something immensely satisfying about baking bread at home, and this Mary Berry Soda Bread recipe epitomizes the joy of baking with its simplicity and comforting results.

Here’s why you’ll fall in love with it:

  • Effortlessly Easy: With no yeast, kneading, or proofing required, this recipe is as straightforward as it gets. It’s perfect for those who want homemade bread without the fuss.
  • Quick Comfort: In under an hour, you’ll have a warm, crusty loaf that’s perfect for slathering with butter, and jam, or using to mop up hearty stews.
  • Versatile: Perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, complementing a wide range of dishes.
  • Foolproof: Thanks to Mary Berry’s expert guidance, this recipe is hard to mess up. Follow the steps, and you’re guaranteed great results every time.
  • Homely and Hearty: There’s a nostalgic quality to soda bread that harks back to simpler times. Its dense crumb and rich flavor are the epitome of home cooking.
  • Adaptable: Feel free to add your own twist with herbs, seeds, or dried fruits, making this recipe a versatile base for your culinary creativity.

With every bite of this rustic, hearty bread, you’ll understand why it’s not just a recipe—it’s a warm, welcoming experience on a plate.

What Ingredients You Need to Make Mary Berry Soda Bread

To make Mary Berry soda bread, you will need the following ingredients:

  • Oil, for greasing
  • 450g (1lb) strong white flour
  • 1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 level tsp salt
  • 300ml (½ pint) buttermilk or 150ml (¼ pint) milk and 150ml (¼ pint) natural yoghurt, mixed


You will also need the following equipment:

  • A large mixing bowl
  • A measuring spoon
  • A measuring jug
  • A wooden spoon
  • A sharp knife
  • A baking tray
  • A wire rack

Instructions to Make Mary Berry Soda Bread

To make Mary Berry soda bread, follow these easy steps:

  • Preparation: Preheat your oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Lightly grease a baking tray.
  • Mix Dry Ingredients: In a large bowl, combine the flour, bicarbonate of soda, and salt.
  • Add Liquids: Pour in the buttermilk (or milk and yogurt mixture) and enough tepid water to form a soft dough.
  • Shape the Dough: Turn the dough onto a floured surface and shape it into a round loaf about 18cm in diameter.
  • Bake to Perfection: Place the dough on the tray, score a cross on top, and bake for 30 minutes. Then, flip the bread and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.

Easy Mary Berry Soda Bread Recipe

What Do I Serve With Mary Berry Soda Bread?

Finding the perfect pairing for Mary Berry’s Soda Bread can elevate this simple, hearty loaf into a memorable part of your meal. Its versatile nature makes it a delightful companion to a variety of dishes, whether you’re enjoying a casual breakfast or a more formal dinner.

  • Savory Soups: A steaming bowl of vegetable soup or beef stew pairs wonderfully with the rustic flavors of soda bread.
  • Cheese Platter: Complement the bread with a selection of cheeses, from sharp cheddar to creamy brie, for a sophisticated snack.
  • Breakfast Delight: Serve toasted slices topped with avocado or poached eggs for a fulfilling start to the day.
  • Jam and Butter: Spread a slice with rich butter and your favorite jam for a simple yet satisfying treat.
  • Smoked Salmon: Top with smoked salmon and cream cheese for an elegant appetizer or brunch option.

Expert Tips to Make Perfect Mary Berry Soda Bread

Achieving the perfect soda bread is about mastering a few key techniques and understanding the simple ingredients involved.

Here are some tips to help you bake the perfect loaf every time.

  • Fresh Ingredients: Ensure your baking soda and buttermilk are fresh for the best rise and flavor.
  • Minimal Kneading: Handle the dough as little as possible to keep the bread light and airy.
  • Proper Scoring: Cut a deep cross on top of the loaf to help it bake evenly and rise properly.
  • Avoid Overmixing: Mix the ingredients until just combined to prevent the bread from becoming tough.
  • Watch the Oven: Every oven is different, so start checking the bread a few minutes before the suggested baking time.

Variations of Mary Berry Soda Bread

Mary Berry’s Soda Bread is wonderfully adaptable, allowing for various tweaks and variations to suit your taste or the occasion.

Here are a few ideas to inspire your baking adventures.

  • With Nuts and Seeds: Fold in a mix of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, or walnuts for added texture and flavor.
  • Herb-Infused: Incorporate rosemary or thyme into the dough for an aromatic twist.
  • Sweet Cranberry-Orange: Add dried cranberries and orange zest for a loaf with a sweet-tart flavor profile.
  • Cheesy Delight: Mix in grated cheese, such as cheddar or parmesan, for a savory, cheesy bread.
  • Gluten-Free Version: Use gluten-free flours and ensure your baking soda is gluten-free for those with dietary restrictions.

How do I store Mary Berry Soda Bread Leftovers?

Soda bread, with its tender crumb and crusty exterior, is undeniably best enjoyed fresh. However, if you find yourself with leftovers, here’s how to keep them delicious for later:

  • Cool Down: Allow the bread to cool completely to room temperature before storing it to prevent moisture buildup, which can lead to sogginess or mold.
  • Airtight Storage: Wrap the bread tightly in cling film or place it in an airtight container. This helps to maintain its texture and flavor.
  • Room Temperature: Keep the wrapped bread at room temperature if consumed within the next 48 hours.
  • Freeze for Longevity: For longer storage, freeze the soda bread. Wrap it securely in cling film and then in foil to protect against freezer burn. It will keep for up to 3 months in the freezer.

Remember, soda bread is a humble fare, meant to be consumed without much delay, so while these methods will help, they can’t fully preserve the just-baked quality.

How do I reheat Mary Berry Soda Bread Leftovers?

To recapture the magic of freshly baked soda bread, proper reheating is key. Here’s how to bring back the warmth and crispness:

Oven Method:

  • Preheat: Warm your oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4.
  • Moisture Trick: Lightly sprinkle the bread with water to help freshen up the crust.
  • Reheat: Place the bread directly on the oven rack for about 10-15 minutes until it’s heated through and the crust crisps up.

Microwave Method:

  • Dampen: Wrap the bread in a damp paper towel. This adds moisture and prevents the bread from drying out.
  • Heat: Microwave on a medium setting for 10-20 seconds. If it’s not warm enough, heat it in 10-second bursts until you’re satisfied.

While the microwave method is quicker, the oven method more closely restores the bread’s original texture. Whichever way you choose, reheating soda bread makes it nearly as delightful as it was when it first came out of the oven.

What Kind of Flour is Best for Soda Bread?

The choice of flour is critical in soda bread. The type of flour not only affects the bread’s flavor and texture but also how well it reacts with the leavening agent. Traditionally, soda bread calls for a specific type of flour:

  • Wholemeal Wheat Flour: For a classic, hearty Irish soda bread, wholemeal wheat flour (or whole wheat flour) is the standard. It gives the bread a full-bodied flavor and a dense, nutritious crumb.
  • White Flour Variations: If you prefer a lighter texture, strong white flour, known in some places as bread flour, is a good choice. It has a higher protein content, which can lend a chewier texture to the bread.
  • A Blend for Balance: Many bakers find that a combination of white and wholemeal flours offers the perfect balance of heartiness and lightness. Mary Berry’s recipe, for instance, opts for strong white flour to give the bread a sturdy structure and a chewy crust.

Regardless of the type of flour you choose, make sure it’s fresh and hasn’t been sitting on your shelf past its prime, as this can affect the taste and rise of your bread.

What Type of Soda is Best for Soda Bread?

The “soda” in soda bread is bicarbonate of soda, also known as baking soda. It’s a powerful leavening agent that reacts with the acidic components in the dough (like buttermilk) to create carbon dioxide bubbles, which make the bread rise.

Here’s what to look for in a baking soda for your soda bread:

  • Freshness: Baking soda should be fresh for optimal leavening power. Test its potency before baking by mixing a small amount with vinegar; if it bubbles vigorously, it’s good to use.
  • Single-Acting: For soda bread, single-acting baking soda is ideal. It reacts when it becomes wet, which is why soda bread must be baked immediately after mixing.
  • Aluminum-Free: Some bakers prefer aluminum-free baking soda for a cleaner taste, although it’s not strictly necessary for the chemical leavening process.


Nutrition value (per serving):

  • Calories: 124
  • Total fat: 2.1g
  • Saturated fat: 0.5g
  • Cholesterol: 7.7mg
  • Sodium: 170mg
  • Potassium: 113mg
  • Total carbohydrate: 24g
  • Dietary fiber: 1.1g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 2.8g
  • Vitamin A: 1.7%
  • Vitamin C: 0.6%
  • Calcium: 2.7%
  • Iron: 6.4%

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Final Words

Soda bread is a classic Irish bread that is quick and easy to make. It has a crusty exterior and a soft crumb, and it is perfect for breakfast, brunch, or as a side dish for soups and stews.

In this article, I showed you how to make soda bread using the recipe from Mary Berry, one of the most famous and respected British bakers. Her soda bread recipe is simple and foolproof, and it uses only a few basic ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. I also gave you some tips and tricks for making the best soda bread every time, as well as some reasons why you should try it. I hope you enjoyed this article and learned something new. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. And if you liked this article, please share it with your friends and family.

Thank you for reading and happy baking!

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