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Irish-inspired Soda Bread with Sourdough Discard (dairy-free)

A delicious take on Irish soda bread using sourdough discard and no buttermilk. It sits overnight (6-10 hours) before baking. Enjoy this with some Irish butter or with a hearty Irish stew. Cheers!
See notes for making a half loaf which is the perfect size for 4 people to enjoy at one meal.
Course: Breakfast, Side Dish
Keyword: bread, St. Patrick's Day
Servings: 1 large loaf of soda bread
Author: Jenny Prior


  • Food Scale
  • 1 large bowl
  • Spoon
  • Parchment Paper
  • cast-iron skillet or flat baking sheet
  • knife
  • Pastry brush


  • 400 grams all-purpose flour 2 2/3 cups
  • 100 grams whole wheat flour 2/3 cup
  • 8 grams baking soda 1 ½ teaspoons
  • 9 grams salt 1 ½ teaspoons
  • 30 grams optional: white cane sugar 2 tablespoons
  • 400 grams sourdough discard about 4 cups
  • 160 grams water (room temperature, see notes) 2/3 cup


  • Prepare baking dish: Cut a large piece of parchment and lay inside a large cast iron skillet or on a flat baking sheet.
  • Stir dry ingredients: Add flours, baking soda, salt, and sugar (if using) to a large mixing bowl. Stir together with a spoon.
  • Add wet ingredients: Pour sourdough discard and water into the dry mixture.
  • Mix: Stir until there are no dry patches left and a thick sticky mixture is made. Mixing with hands is helpful for this thick dough.
  • Shape: Place dough onto a work surface. Continue to mix and knead with hands for 1-3 minutes to check for dry spots and then use hands to form dough into a round shape. Place the round ball of dough in the center of the parchment. Cover with plastic wrap.
  • Ferment: Leave the dough covered at room temperature for 6-10 hours (or overnight) to ferment and rise. It will expand and spread into a large round of dough.
  • Preheat: After that time has passed, preheat oven to 425º F.
  • Score: Uncover dough. Use a knife to cut an x on the top of the dough across the dough that is about 1/2 inch deep in the center.
  • Optional step: Use a pastry brush to brush additional water on the top, in the cut x, and all around the sides of the bread. Sprinkle some additional sugar all over the crust on top of the moistened surface, once baked it will add a nice color and sugary crunch on the crust.
  • Bake: Place pan into oven and bake 30 – 35 minutes. The bread should have a golden brown top and a toothpick or knife inserted into the center should come out clean.
  • Cool: Allow the bread to cool for about 15-30 minutes.
  • Serve: Cut the bread into slices or wedges and serve.


  • When adding water, you may need to adjust the water amount you add depending on the thickness of your sourdough discard and the way your flour is absorbing the liquid. After you have mixed the dough by hand and it still feels dry, add 10 grams of water, mix again for a minute. Check consistency. Repeat as needed until there is no dry flour left and the dough is thick and sticky.
  • Some people enjoy raisins in their Irish soda bread. To add raisins, add 120 grams raisins and 36 additional grams of water to the full batch. Cut amounts in half to incorporate into the half loaf described below.
  • To make a half loaf size (perfect for 4 people at one meal), use the following ingredient amounts and baking timing. All the other steps remain the same.
    • 200g All-purpose flour
    • 50g whole wheat flour
    • 4g (3/4 t.) baking soda
    • 4g (3/4 t.) salt
    • 15g (1 T.) white cane sugar
    • 200g (about 2 c.) sourdough discard
    • 80g (about 6 T.) water
    • Bake time: 23-28 minutes (25 was perfect for mine)