HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Mar 7, 2011 10:40 AM

Irish Soda Bread - can't get past the smell test

Today I made Irish Soda Bread because I wanted to have some with the soup I was making.

I just can't abide the smell of baking soda in quick breads, so I almost never make them.

Does anyone have a Irish Soda bread recipe using only baking powder?

Yes, I know, then it would be Irish Baking Powder bread :-))


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Are you sure it is the baking soda and not the buttermilk that you don't like? Baking powder is baking soda plus a powdered acid.

    You could substitute regular milk for the butter milk, and use baking powder. The usual rule of thumb is 1 tsp baking powder per cup of flour.

    3 Replies
    1. re: paulj

      Definitely it is the baking soda that I don't like. Today my recipe didn't call for buttermilk (which I do like).
      Today's recipe was 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 all-purpose. It called for 1 T baking powder and 1-3/4 teaspoon of baking soda, 1-1/2 cup milk and butter and honey.

      Do you think I could use 1 T vinegar, and leave out the baking soda,, and use baking powder?

      Or not :-))
      Thanks for your reply.

      1. re: Rella

        How much flour? Is there any acid in that recipe (the honey is slightly acidic)? I don't see the need for baking soda. Why add the vinegar?

        Soda bread is much like biscuits except it does not have any fat.

        Do you have a basic cook book that talks about the roles of baking soda and baking powder in baking? For example a Joy of Cooking?

        I wonder if your recipes have too much baking soda for the amount of acid. I found one place that says 1/2 tsp baking soda is enough for 1 c of buttermilk. If the ratio is correct the bs and acid should react almost as soon as they are mixed, with no surplus baking soda to given an objectionable smell.

        1. re: Rella

          Baking soda needs acid to work, baking powder doesn't. Since there is no acid in your recipe, the baking soda isn't really doing much, so you could try just leaving it out. There would be no need to add vinegar because the baking powder already has the acid it needs included.

      2. You do know that Soda Bread should be held for 24 hours before you cut it, right? (Ok, maybe not everyone does that, but.....). Try it again today, and see if the smell has dissipated. Or is it just the smell while it is baking that you mind? Also, try toasting it.

        2 Replies
        1. re: sancan

          My mom and her friends would call that stale. Soda bread needs to be eaten quickly. Next day it must be toasted to be edible.

          1. re: Siobhan

            No offense to your mom, but I find soda bread has *much* better flavor the next day, especially brown soda bread.

        2. I use the Cooks Illustrated recipe. Here's a link to it:

          Classic Irish Soda Bread

          2 Replies
          1. re: Antilope

            That one uses cream of tartar (along with buttermilk) as the acid.

            1. re: Antilope

              baking it now.
              one thing I did differently.
              the zest of an orange and caraway seeds and raisins

            2. You know that Baking Powder is (basically) baking soda and cream of tartar, right?

              1. It was the best I've made in years.
                Most reguard ISB as dry but this had a nice moistness.
                The sweetness of the raisins and orange zest plus the bite of the caraway seeds
                with butter on top, very good.

                Now with Easter just around the corner, I have to get out my Confetti bread
                recipe to prepare for Easter brunch.