Easy, Crusty Soda Bread

Soda bread is so delicious. The lovely texture comes about through the reaction between the acidic milk and the baking soda that forms small bubbles of carbon dioxide in the dough. You can hear it when you stir in the kefir or buttermilk. This causes the bread to rise. Soda bread has a lovely hard crust, dense texture and slight sour tang.

As we culture our own kefir milk at home, there is always some left over from what we consume daily as the kefir grains grow and more milk is needed to feed them. This recipe uses this extra kefir to make an easy, crusty soda bread for our meals.

If you do not make kefir milk yourself, it is available at supermarkets or you can substitute buttermilk or even convert ordinary whole milk to buttermilk. For every cup of whole milk add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar.

I have also made the soda bread with soft or ordinary plain flour and home made buttermilk (made with white vinegar). The taste is more scone-like, whereas the kefir gives a mild tang like sourdough to the soda bread. Using the high protein bread flour also gave a crisper crust. It all comes back to what is available in your pantry. Both soda breads are delicious and worth making.

The beauty of this bread is that no special pots or any other equipment is needed and the resulting loaf is crusty with a good texture and taste. This quantity of ingredients makes a small loaf perfect for 2-3 people. Just double the quantities for a larger loaf.

This humble, traditional bread is so simple to make and you can use plain, wholemeal or a mixture of both to create your daily bread. Below are images of soda bread made with kefir and the loaf made with home made buttermilk. Both were excellent to eat, broken or sliced and warm from the oven with lashings of butter.

Soda bread made with Kefir and bread flour has a harder crust.
Soda bread made with home made buttermilk using vinegar and ordinary plain flour.

Easy Crusty Soda Bread


  • 1 3/4 cups high protein bread plain flour
  • 1 cup milk kefir ( alternately you can use buttermilk)
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt


1.Preheat oven to 200 C fan forced

2.Line a baking tray with baking paper

3.Into a large bowl, sift the flour and baking soda

4.Stir through the salt

Home made Kefir is thick and full of good probiotics

5.Make a well in the flour. Pour the kefir into it and as you are pouring it in, stir through quickly and thoroughly with a wooden spoon to ensure is evenly incorporated and a dough forms. As kefir is thicker than milk it requires care to combine it thoroughly

6.With your hands floured gather your dough and place onto a floured board

7.It will be sticky so knead it very quickly just to form a ball and keep the raising agents in the mix

8.Transfer the ball of dough to the tray lined with baking paper and flatten

9.Form a slit across wise with a pastry cutter or a sharp knife and place the tray into the preheated oven

The dough ball flattened and cut, ready for the oven.

10.Bake at 200 C for 20 minutes then lower the heat to 180 C for another 20 minutes

11.When the bread is nicely browned and sounds hollow when the base is tapped, the bread is ready

12.Remove the crusty soda bread from the oven and serve it broken or sliced, hot or cooled as desired, to accompany your meals. 

Soda bread made with kefir.
The texture of soda bread made with Kefir. It has a tangy sourdough taste.
Soda bread made with buttermilk has a more scone- like flavour but a crisp crust.

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