Felicity Hayes-McCoy’s Irish Soda Bread

Felicity Hayes-McCoy’s Irish Soda Bread

Felicity Hayes-McCoy’s Irish Soda Bread

This loaf, often known as “a cake of bread”, is one of Ireland’s staples. Because the ingredients are so few and the rise is vital, people can get obsessive about which kind of flour gives the best result, and whether or not a handful of oats should be tossed in with the whole wheat flour. It really depends on the kind of flour available in your area – and, of course, on the time of year, the speed with which you bring the dough together, and even the humidity in your kitchen. All of which offer plenty of opportunities for argument and appraisal at events like the library bake sale in The Transatlantic Book Club.

Felicity Hayes-McCoy



Book Club Buzz: author note, book club menu


Felicity Hayes-McCoy’s Irish Soda Bread

This family recipe was handed down from my grandmother to my mother, to me. -Felicity Hayes McCoy

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 1 loaf 1x


  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Approximately 1 ¼ cups sour milk, buttermilk, or plain yogurt


  1. Turn oven to 450°F. Sift flours, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the center. Pour in the milk, buttermilk, or yogurt. Using one hand and turning the bowl with the other, mix the ingredients from the outside to the center. You want a soft, not sticky, dough, so add a handful of whole wheat flour if needed, and bring it all together as quickly as possible.
  2. Place dough on a floured board and knead very briefly, just enough to make a ball. Flatten dough slightly with your hand and cut a cross through it with a knife. You can go almost right through to the bottom of the dough, which will help the rise.
  3. Bake on a heavy, floured baking sheet for 15 minutes Then reduce the heat to 400°F for about another 15 minutes. The bread is done when it sounds hollow when you tap the base of the loaf.  Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

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