Homemade No Yeast Bread (Soda Bread)

This wonderfully easy and convenient no yeast bread is also known as soda bread. Adapted from my Irish Soda Bread, this dense loaf is made from just 6 ingredients and ready in about 1 hour. There’s no complicated shaping or kneading necessary and I offer plenty of flavor suggestions. We love this with oats and/or coarse salt sprinkled on top!

no yeast bread

Highly requested and majorly convenient if you (1) don’t have yeast and (2) crave bread, this no yeast bread comes at the perfect time! I adapted this recipe from my Irish Soda Bread, a recipe straight from my late grandmother’s kitchen. I made 3 loaves just this past week and am thrilled to share the simple process with you today.

This No Yeast Bread Is:

  • Ready in 1 hour
  • Made with 6 ingredients
  • Convenient if you don’t have or don’t want to use yeast
  • Dense, satisfying, and crusty
  • Delicious toasted or warm with honey butter
  • Made with buttermilk for extra flavor and richness
  • Wonderful plain or with optional flavors

no yeast bread

no yeast soda bread slices

The Exact Texture to Expect:

My no yeast bread has a crumbly golden brown crust with a dense, tight crumb inside. Since there’s no yeast, don’t expect an airy, light, or bouncy bread. If you want an airy yeast bread, I recommend my sandwich bread or artisan bread.


These Ingredients Are Crucial

This section is important to review if you’re wondering about ingredient substitutions or why certain ingredients are used.

  1. All-Purpose Flour: All-purpose flour is best for this loaf, though the same amount of bread flour may also be used without any changes to the recipe. See my recipe notes about whole wheat flour. I have not tested this recipe with gluten free alternatives.
  2. Salt: I use 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of fine sea salt for flavor, but have also tested this recipe with the same amount of regular table salt. Both are excellent.
  3. Baking Soda: This is a quick bread, so the bread rises without the use of yeast. Baking soda is our leavening agent and if you remember from my baking soda vs baking powder page, baking soda requires an acidic ingredient. Do not use baking powder– you will need an excessive amount in order for this bread to rise and that much baking powder will leave a chemical aftertaste.
  4. Butter: You’ll notice that I use melted butter in this loaf while my Irish Soda Bread uses cold butter that you cut into the flour. I played around with this dough A LOT and found that I could successfully use melted butter and skip the cutting step (in conjunction with leaving out the egg). The bread isn’t quite as heavy and rich as my grandmother’s recipe, but it’s still plenty flavorful.
  5. Honey or Sugar: Either work with zero changes to the recipe required.
  6. Buttermilk: Buttermilk, an acidic ingredient, adds richness, flavor, and aids in the loaf’s rise. If you don’t have buttermilk, see my recipe note about a DIY version.

A sprinkle of oats, seasonings, and/or coarse salt on top is optional!

ingredients in no yeast bread

No Yeast Bread Video Tutorial

Now that you understand why each ingredient is imperative to the recipe’s success, let’s watch a super quick recipe video. Yes, the process really is this easy!


Overview: How to Make No Yeast Bread

While the full recipe is written below, let’s quickly walk through the process with step-by-step pictures. I want you to be confident and have instant success!

  1. Combine the dry ingredients.
  2. Mix the honey and melted butter, then stir into the dry ingredients.
  3. In 2-3 additions, fold in the buttermilk to create a shaggy and slightly moist dough.
  4. Turn dough and any flour crumbles at the bottom of the bowl onto a work surface. Using your hands, bring the dough together into a ball then flatten into a 2 inch thick, 7-8 inch disc. These measurements don’t need to be totally accurate.
  5. Place onto a lined baking sheet or your baking pan of choice. (See next section.) Brush with a little more buttermilk and, if desired, sprinkle with some oats and/or coarse salt.
  6. Using a very sharp knife, score the top of the dough with an X that’s about 3/4 inch deep. This allows the center to bake.
  7. Bake until golden brown. Tent with aluminum foil halfway through baking to prevent the crust from over-browning before the center cooks through.

soda bread dough

no yeast bread dough

no yeast bread before baking

no yeast bread

Best Baking Pan to Use for No Yeast Bread

  • I usually use a half baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  • You can also use a seasoned 10-12 inch cast iron skillet– feel free to pre-heat the skillet in the pre-heating oven, though that’s not necessary.
  • Greased 9-10 inch cake pan or pie dish.
  • A dutch oven large enough to fit the loaf. Line with parchment paper before placing the dough inside. Feel free to bake the bread with the lid on, which helps develop a crispier crust. Remove the lid for the last 10 minutes of baking. The bake time may be longer since the bread is in a closed pan for most of the oven time.
  • Any square or rectangular pan large enough to fit an 8-inch round loaf.

See all of my quick bread recipes. Excited for you to try this easy bread!

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no yeast bread

Homemade No Yeast Bread (Soda Bread)

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 1 loaf
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This dense, chewy, and satisfying no yeast bread rises with baking soda and buttermilk. Before beginning, review the blog post above, recipe notes below, as well as the video tutorial.


Ingredients

  • 4 and 1/4 cups (515g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), plus more for hands and surface
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 4 Tablespoons (1/4 cup; 60g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 Tablespoons honey (40g) or granulated sugar (25g)
  • 1 and 3/4 cups (420ml) buttermilk, plus 1 Tablespoon for brushing the dough
  • optional: 1 Tablespoon whole oats and/or a sprinkle of coarse salt for topping

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). There are options for the baking pan. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, use a seasoned 10-12 inch cast iron skillet, or grease a 9-10 inch cake pan or pie dish. Set aside. Feel free to pre-heat the skillet in the oven too, though that’s not necessary.
  2. Whisk the flour, salt, and baking soda together in a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. Whisk the melted butter and honey/sugar together. Pour into the flour mixture and toss to combine. (The mixture won’t fully combine yet since there’s so little wet ingredients and so much flour.) In 2-3 additions, pour in the buttermilk mixing for 15-20 seconds after each addition. After all of the buttermilk has been added, mix gently to form a shaggy, stiff, and slightly moist dough. If you used honey, there could be little specks of honey/butter in spots. That’s ok! Those will be extra flavorful specks in your bread.
  4. Pour the shaggy dough and any flour crumbles that haven’t been incorporated onto a lightly floured work surface. With floured hands, work the dough into a ball and flatten into a (approximately) 7-8 inch disc as best you can (make it about 2 inches tall). If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour.
  5. Transfer the disc to the prepared skillet/pan. Brush the whole loaf with 1 Tablespoon buttermilk. Using a very sharp knife, score a 3/4 inch deep X into the top. (Without scoring, the bread can’t bake properly in the center.) Sprinkle optional oats and/or coarse salt on top of the loaf.
  6. Bake until the bread is golden brown and center appears cooked through, about 45 minutes. Loosely cover the bread with aluminum foil halfway through bake time to protect the crust from over-browning before the center has a chance to cook.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow bread to cool for 5 minutes before slicing. For best taste, though, let the bread cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving. If you made a plain loaf, the slices are delicious spread with honey butter or your desired spreads. Slices taste wonderful toasted, too!
  8. Cover and store bread at room temperature for 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Notes

  1. Freezing Instructions: Baked and cooled bread freezes well up to 3 months. Freeze the whole loaf or individual slices. Thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature, then reheat as desired.
  2. Buttermilk: Using cold buttermilk is best. Buttermilk is key to the bread’s flavor, texture, and rise. The bread will not rise without it. If you don’t have any buttermilk on hand, you can make a homemade “DIY” version. Whole milk or 2% milk is best, though lower fat or nondairy milks work in a pinch. Add 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar to a liquid measuring cup. Add enough milk to make 1 and 3/4 cup. Whisk together, then let sit for 5 minutes before using in the recipe.
  3. Alternative Flours: Instead of all-purpose flour, you can use the same amount of bread flour with no other changes needed to the recipe. If you’d like to use all whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour, expect an extremely dense and heavy loaf. Instead, I recommend using half all-purpose flour and half whole wheat flour. Still, the bread will taste pretty heavy. If you’re interested, here are all my recipes using whole wheat flour. I have not tested this bread with any gluten free alternatives, so I’m unsure of the result. Let me know if you do! If you’re interested, here are all my gluten free recipes.
  4. Optional Flavor Additions: Feel free to add flavor to this bread by mixing any of the following or a combination of them in with the flour in step 2: 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary or other chopped fresh herb, 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese or other shredded cheese, 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, 1 diced jalapeño, 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning or other ground seasoning/herb, 2 cloves minced garlic, or 1 cup dried cranberries, raisins, or other small dried fruit. Sometimes I add 1 extra Tablespoon of sugar/honey, 1 cup raisins, and 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon.
  5. Best Baking Pan to Use: I like using a regular sheet pan because it’s easy, convenient, and universal to most kitchens. I do not recommend a loaf pan because the loaf may not bake evenly inside. This dough is best as a flatter loaf. See blog post above for different pans.

Keywords: soda bread, no yeast bread, quick bread

no yeast bread

187 Comments

  1. Can I use Apple Cider Vinegar to make the buttermilk?

    1. Hi Natasha- definitely! See my recipe note #2 for DIY buttermilk instructions. Use apple cider vinegar in place of white vinegar or lemon juice.

  2. Made this with one tablespoon of an unexpectedly hot Italian seasoning blend (LOTS of red pepper flakes). My mouth is on fire, but the texture is great! Will try calling things down with a bit of cream cheese spread

  3. Just made this and it is amazing!. I don’t think I could even wait the five minutes before I cut into it. It is delicious and exactly the kind of bread I was wanting. I’m a little concerned I may eat the whole loaf today. Thanks for a great recipe!

  4. Partner made this today, however we find it is too salty, but will make it again just with less salt for us, good recipe though

  5. Huzaifa khan says:

    Hello Sally,
    I made this bread with olive oil instead of butter and without oven it’s comes really nice.
    Thank you so much for receipe.

  6. Amazing with a cup of Parmesan cheese in it! My family gave it 2 thumbs up! Thank you!

  7. Came out exactly as described! Great recipe 🙂

  8. LOVE this bread!!! I’m out of unsalted butter and wondering if I could make it with salted–would I have to leave out the added salt then? Thanks–love your recipes!

    1. Hi Dana, I’m thrilled you enjoy this recipe! If using salted butter, reduce the added salt to 1 and 1/4 teaspoons.

  9. Hi Sally. I am loving your recipies. This is my first time trying to make bread. When we take the dough out of the mixing ball to form into a ball – should we be kneading it to make sure all the lumps are gone? I also watched your youtube video on this but i am still unsure. I have put mine in the oven but could definately see discernable lumps. Thank you so much !

    1. Hi Anahita! No kneading necessary– just gently shape and flatten the dough. Some lumps are ok!

  10. Such a yummy recipe. Even though I substituted one cup of flour with wheat flour and added thyme, garlic salt and sesame seeds on top—the family loved it!

  11. This bread is absolutely amazing!
    I am gluten free, so was struggling to find no yeast recipes, but this was amazing!
    It was well enjoyed, and we made it three times in total!
    I really enjoy all your recipes sally, thanks!

    1. Sorry, not gluten free, I’m avoiding yeast.

  12. I have a question: What is the difference in taste compared to grandma Irish soda bread? Thank you!

    1. This one isn’t quite as tender and rich (no egg in this one). More of a savory, dense bread. Let me know if you try it!

      1. I made this bread yesterday, and the dough was like batter (I have no idea what I did wrong!) I ended up adding at least 4 or 5 cups of extra flour to it. The baking time also took much longer, because it was so much bigger. However, it still tasted pretty good! The bread was pretty crumbly though.

  13. Marilie du Plooy says:

    Hi Sally, I’m from South Africa – we do not have all-purpose flour. Would it be okay to substitute with Cake Flour?

    1. Hi! Unfortunately no. Best to use all-purpose (or “plain”) flour or even bread flour. Cake flour is too light for bread.

  14. I usually never leave reviews on recipes, but I felt like I was obligated to share how AMAZING this bread was. It was super easy to make, even for a beginner like me, and only took around 15-20 minutes to make the dough. And the taste! It was mouth-watering! All of my family dug in for seconds- and some for thirds! This one is a keeper for sure! Thank you so much Sally!

    Also, I wanted to add that I’m a tween and I’ve only started baking during quarantine. Your blog has been godsend. Your instructions are detailed, the pictures are clear and the substitutions/ storage instructions in the Notes are really helpful. So far I’ve made your White Chocolate Chip Cranberry Cookies, Lemon Bars & Vanilla Cake amongst others. Thank you so so much!

  15. Norma Sassaone says:

    Awesome recipe I started making whole yeast has even in short supply during the pandemic. I use buckwheat honey and curdle some milk with apple cider vinegar. I’ve been doing half the recipe because it’s just the two of us. I throw everything in the food processor and pulse it until a nice dough ball forms. WE like it topped with coarse salt after it’s been brushed with the milk. I’ve also made a second version with 2 cups white flour, one cup almond flour, 1/2 cup tapioca flour, 1/4 cup wheat bran and 1/2 cup Parmesan – but still your basic soda bread idea. THAnks for the easy recipe.

  16. Can I use heavy cream instead of buttermilk? Thanks!

    1. I don’t recommend it. You need the acidity from buttermilk. If using the DIY option, however, heavy cream is still simply too thick.

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