Scottish Soda Bread

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

A tender, crumbly, biscuit-like bread that can be started an hour before mealtime. To serve, break off chunks from the loaf, but if there is any left over, slice it for breakfast toast.

NotesAs a substitute for buttermilk, you can use plain yogurt.

2 medium loaves

Cooking Methodbaking



Total Timeunder 2 hours

Recipe Courseside dish

Dietary Considerationegg-free, halal, kosher, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegetarian

Mealbreakfast, brunch, dinner

Taste and Texturebuttery

Type of Dishbiscuits, bread, quickbreads, scones


  • 2½ cups unbleached white flour
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons soft butter
  • 1 cup buttermilk (see Notes)


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Sprinkle flour on any round or square cake pan or pie plate and set aside.

  2. Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and caraway seeds (if using) in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and work it in with your fingertips until the mixture is crumbly and even in texture. Add the buttermilk and stir with a wooden spoon just long enough to moisten the dry ingredients.

  3. Knead the mixture in the bowl for a minute. (The purpose of the kneading is not to develop gluten, as with yeast dough, but simply to mix the dough thoroughly-so don’t overdo it.) If the dough is too sticky to handle, add a little more flour.

  4. Shape the dough into a ball about 8 inches in diameter and place on the prepared pan. Dip a sharp knife in flour and use it to make two deep cuts into the loaf (almost-but not quite-to the bottom) in the shape of a plus sign. As the bread bakes, the cuts will spread apart.

  5. Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and spread out like an open flower. Cool on a wire rack. To serve, pull the bread apart at the cut lines and tear off pieces.


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