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Quick Bread With Garlic And Parmesan (Soda Bread)

Love the aroma of freshly baked bread but short on time? Our no-rise, hassle-free quick bread with roasted garlic and parmesan is the perfect solution. With just a simple mix and bake, you’ll have a delicious homemade soda bread in no time.

A hand is spreading a slice of quick bread with butter.

What Makes This Recipe Great!

  • Quick and Easy – In a hurry? No problem! Our Garlic Parmesan Soda Bread is a quick and fuss-free alternative to traditional bread. With no need for kneading or rising time, you can enjoy freshly baked bread in no time.
  • Versatile Flavours – Get creative with your soda bread! This recipe is a blank canvas for your culinary imagination. Experiment with different herbs, spices, and cheeses to customize the flavours to your liking.
  • Perfect for Beginners – New to bread making? No worries! Soda bread is an excellent choice for beginners. With simple instructions and minimal steps, it’s hard to go wrong. Gain confidence in your baking skills as you create a delicious loaf with ease.

About This Recipe – In More Detail

Indulge in the wonderful combination of roasted garlic, fresh parsley, and Parmesan cheese with my irresistible Quick Bread with Garlic and Parmesan.

This quick bread recipe delivers a burst of savoury flavours and a hint of smokiness in every bite. The beauty of soda bread lies in its simplicity and speed of preparation – no kneading or rising required.

With a crumbly texture similar to cake, this soda bread is perfect for accompanying soups like this Leftover Parsnip Soup, or this Creamy Courgette Soup, stews, or enjoyed on its own with some butter or homemade whole milk ricotta cheese spread over the top. Whether you’re a seasoned baker or a novice in the kitchen, our Garlic Parmesan Soda Bread is super easy to make.

If you’re looking for more quick dough recipes that don’t need a rise time, try these easy flour tortilla wraps too!

A slice of soda bread sits on a white plate in this photo. The cut loaf is in the background on a wooden chopping board along with a small bowl of butter.  Next to the plate there is an old book and newspaper.

What is Soda Bread?

Soda bread, also known as quick bread, is a type of no-knead bread that requires no rising time. It is a popular bread variation found in countries like Ireland, Scotland, America, and Australia, each with its regional varieties and flavours.

In this recipe, we create an Irish soda bread, which distinguishes itself by using bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) as a leavening agent instead of yeast. This allows the bread to be quickly made without the need for rising.

Buttermilk, an essential ingredient in soda bread, adds a tart and creamy taste. It reacts with the bicarbonate of soda, resulting in the formation of carbon dioxide bubbles that give the bread its rise. While buttermilk is traditionally the liquid left over from churning cream into butter, you can easily make your own using our homemade buttermilk recipe.

It’s important to note that soda bread is different from sourdough, which relies on natural yeast and a longer fermentation process. Soda bread has a unique texture, leaning towards a crumbly consistency resembling cake rather than a traditional loaf of bread.

Soda bread offers versatility in flavours, allowing for both sweet and savoury variations. In this recipe, I enhance the bread’s taste with roasted garlic, fresh parsley, and Parmesan cheese, adding a mild smoky flavour to the loaf.


Equipment Needed

  • Mixing Bowl: A mixing bowl is used to combine the dry and wet ingredients for the soda bread dough, allowing for easy mixing and blending.
  • Whisk or Spoon: A whisk or spoon is used to stir and combine the ingredients together, ensuring they are well incorporated.
  • Baking Sheet or Baking Stone: A baking sheet or baking stone is used to place the soda bread dough for baking. It provides a flat surface for the dough to spread and bake evenly.
  • Parchment Paper or Baking Mat: Parchment paper or a baking mat is used to line the baking sheet, preventing the dough from sticking and making clean-up easier.
  • Knife or Dough Scraper: A knife or dough scraper is used to score the top of the soda bread dough before baking. It helps control the expansion of the dough during baking and creates an attractive pattern on the loaf.
  • Cooling Rack: A cooling rack is used to transfer the baked soda bread from the baking sheet, allowing it to cool evenly and prevent the bottom from becoming soggy.
  • Bread Knife: A bread knife is used to slice the cooled soda bread into individual servings. Its serrated blade makes clean and precise cuts.

Ingredients

A labelled photo of all of the ingredients you will need for this recipe.
  • Plain White All-Purpose Flour & Wholemeal – This is the base for your dough. Stick with these ingredients and don’t use bread flour. Bread flour works better when yeast is present in a recipe. Wholemeal flour works best when combined with white flour. Using only wholemeal flour will give you a loaf that is too dense.
  • Bicarbonate of Soda (Baking Soda) – This creates a rise in the loaf when it interacts with the buttermilk.
  • Salt – This adds flavouring to the bread and stops it tasting too bland.
  • Butter – This aids with the rise and gives the bread a crispier crust. You can substitute it with olive oil if you wish.
  • Buttermilk – This acidic component interacts with the baking soda, causing the bread to rise. If you don’t have any to hand, you can make your own buttermilk in under 20 minutes.
  • Roasted Garlic – This has a milder, smoky taste infusing the bread with a delicious garlic flavour. You can roast your own garlic at home. If you would rather use plain garlic, you can, but we would recommend using only 1-2 cloves instead owing to its stronger flavour.
  • Fresh Parsley – You can use dried parsley if you want to, just use less. Dried parsley is more concentrated than its fresh counterpart, so you don’t need as much.
  • Parmesan – The combination of parmesan and roasted garlic gives this bread an Italian quality. You can, however, use a different cheese, although the flavour will differ from this loaf.

Additions and Substitutions

  • Cheese and Herb Additions: Switch the flavour of your soda bread by adding other grated cheese, such as cheddar, and other chopped fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, or dill. These additions will bring a delightful twist to your quick bread.
  • Garlic and Onion: For an extra burst of flavour, mix in finely chopped onions to the dough. This addition will give your soda bread a delicious aroma and slightly different taste.
  • Seeds and Nuts: Try incorporating various seeds, such as sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or sunflower seeds, to add a crunch to your soda bread. You can also add chopped nuts like walnuts or almonds for added texture and richness.

Note: When making substitutions or additions, adjust the quantities accordingly and ensure they complement the overall flavour profile of the bread.


A front view of the quick bread on a wooden board, surrounded by fresh parsley.

Can You Make Soda Bread Without Buttermilk?

Buttermilk plays a crucial role in soda bread, providing acidity to react with baking soda and create the necessary rise. While it’s not a common ingredient found in every kitchen, you can easily make your own buttermilk in less than 20 minutes. This recipe offers a convenient solution, allowing you to enjoy delicious soda bread without the need for store-bought buttermilk.


Step-By-Step Guide – How To Make Quick Bread With Garlic And Parmesan (Soda Bread)

Step 1: Preheat the oven

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (356°F). Preheating the oven ensures the best rise for the bread.

Step 2: Combine flours, salt, and bicarbonate of soda

  • In a large bowl or stand mixer, combine the plain white flour and plain wholemeal flour. No need to sift.
  • Add the fine sea salt and bicarbonate of soda (baking soda), and mix well.
A hand is adding bicarbonate of soda to a bowl with flour inside.
A hand is using a wooden spoon to mix flour and bicarbonate of soda together.

Step 3: Rub in butter

  • Cut the room temperature butter into small cubes and rub it into the flour mixture using your hands or a mixer until it resembles breadcrumbs.
Two hands are rubbing butter into a flour mixture.
Two hands are lifting a flour-butter mixture up to show the breadcrumb texture.

Step 4: Add parsley and Parmesan

  • Finely chop the fresh parsley and add it to the dough. Also, add the finely grated Parmesan. Mix thoroughly to evenly distribute the flavourings.

Step 5: Crush garlic

  • Crush the roasted garlic into a paste using a pestle and mortar.
A hand is tipping parsley into a bowl containing a flour-butter mixture and parmesan cheese.
A hand is using a wooden spoon to mix the dry ingredients of a soda bread loaf together in a bowl.

Step 6: Add buttermilk and garlic

  • Add the buttermilk and crushed garlic to the dough. Mix until all the ingredients are well incorporated. The dough will be sticky, which is normal for soda bread. Do not knead the dough.
A hand is using a wooden spoon to mix soda bread dough ingredients together in a bowl.
A hand is finishing mixing together soda bread dough in a bowl.

Step 7: Shape the dough

  • Shape the dough into a ball using floured hands.

Step 8: Place on baking sheet

  • Place the dough ball on a lined and floured baking sheet. Use a sharp knife to make a deep cross on the top, cutting about two-thirds of the way through. Grease the knife slightly if it gets stuck.

Step 9: Dust with flour and bake

  • Dust the top of the loaf with flour and place it in the preheated oven. If you like an extra cheesy bread, sprinkle some extra parmesan cheese on top.
  • Bake the bread for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. This may take a little longer than specified, So to check if it’s done, lightly tap the bottom of the loaf with your fingers – it should sound hollow.
Two hands are shaping soda bread into a round ball on a floured and lined baking tray.
A hand is using a sharp blade to score the top of an unbaked soda bread loaf with a cross shape.

Step 10: Cool and serve

  • Allow the loaf to cool slightly before serving.

Note: Preheating the oven is important for achieving the best rise and texture of the bread. Rubbing the butter into the flour creates a crumbly texture. Adding the parsley, Parmesan, and crushed garlic enhances the flavour of the bread. Shaping the dough into a ball and making a deep cross on the top helps with even baking. The bread is ready when it turns golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped. Allow it to cool slightly before slicing and serving.


FAQ

Why should I score my soda bread with a cross?

Traditionally, it used to be said that this was done to ward off the devil and give protection but this actually has a practical purpose; it helps the heat to penetrate through the loaf, making for more efficient cooking all the way through.

Does Soda Bread taste and look the same as regular bread?

No, whilst soda bread is a good, quick alternative to a loaf of bread, the texture of soda bread is more cake like and crumbly. There is also a difference in the taste with soda bread tasting more like a scone.

Can I use bread flour to make Soda bread?

Bread flour isn’t necessary to make soda bread and I don’t recommend using it. Bread flour contains much more gluten than plain or all purpose flour, which doesn’t work well in recipes without yeast.


Why Does Soda Bread Have A Cross On Top?

In addition to its traditional significance of warding off evil, the cross on top of soda bread serves a practical purpose as well. By cutting a cross on the loaf before baking, it allows for better heat penetration, resulting in more efficient and thorough cooking. This ensures that the bread is evenly baked throughout, without a doughy or undercooked centre.

The cross also serves as a guide for easier division of the bread. With the pre-cut cross, you can easily break the soda bread into quarters or desired portions, making it convenient for serving and sharing.

The cross also provides the bread with more room to stretch and rise as it bakes. This allows for the best expansion during baking, resulting in a light and airy texture in the finished loaf.

So, the cross on top of soda bread is not only a symbolic tradition but also a practical technique that contributes to a delicious and well-baked loaf.

Pro Tips and Guidance

  • Cut a Cross for Even Baking: When placing the dough in the pan, make sure to cut a cross on the top. This helps the heat penetrate evenly, ensuring the loaf bakes through and avoids a doughy center.

  • Explore Flavour Variations: Get creative with your flavours! Experiment with different herbs, spices, or cheeses to add a unique twist to your soda bread. Consider options like rosemary and cheddar, or sun-dried tomatoes and basil.

  • Use Fresh Baking Soda: To ensure the best leavening and rise, make sure your baking soda is fresh. Even if it hasn’t reached the expiry date, it’s recommended to use it within the first 6 months of opening the package.

  • Make Your Own Buttermilk: If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can easily make your own. We show you how to make your own buttermilk which you can use in this recipe.

  • Handle the Dough with Care: When mixing and shaping the dough, be gentle and avoid overworking it. Overmixing can lead to a denser texture in the final bread. Mix until the ingredients are just combined, and handle the dough as little as possible.

  • Preheat the Oven Properly: Ensure that your oven is fully preheated to 180C (350F) before placing the dough inside. This allows for proper heat distribution and optimal baking results.

  • Allow for Proper Cooling: After baking, resist the temptation to slice into the bread immediately. Allow the loaf to cool on a wire rack for at least 15-20 minutes. This helps the flavours to settle and ensures a better texture when slicing.

An overhead view of the soda bread on a wooden heart-shaped chopping board. Surrounded the board are many decorative items, a bread knife, some dried flowers and an old book atop of a newspaper.

Serving Suggestions

  • Pair this savoury quick bread with a variety of delicious soups, such as:
  • The quick baking time of soda bread makes it an ideal side for homemade soups. In just 30 minutes, you can enjoy a comforting meal of warm soup and crunchy soda bread.
  • Serve savoury soda bread alongside butter to compliment a range of main dishes.
  • The recipe yields a small loaf, perfect for a satisfying meal serving 4 people.

Storing Quick Bread With Garlic And Parmesan

  • Fresh Storage: To keep your quick bread fresh, store it in an airtight container or bread bag at room temperature. Consume it within 3-4 days for the best taste and texture.
  • Freezing: If you want to extend the shelf life of your soda bread, you can freeze it. Wrap the bread tightly in plastic wrap or place it in an airtight bag to prevent freezer burn. It can be stored in the freezer for 2-3 months.
  • Thawing: When you’re ready to enjoy your frozen soda bread, remove it from the freezer and let it thaw at room temperature. You can also reheat slices in a toaster or oven for a warm and fresh taste.

Note: It’s important to slice the soda bread before freezing to make it easier to thaw and use as needed.


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A front view of a loaf of soda bread on a wooden board surrounded by fresh herbs.

Quick Bread With Garlic And Parmesan (Soda Bread)

5 from 44 votes
I love freshly baked bread, but when you’re in a hurry who has time to wait for the dough to rise? Say hello to this quick bread with roasted garlic and parmesan, a soda bread with no rise time needed. Just mix the ingredients and bake! Perfect!
Print Recipe Pin Rate Save
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, starter
Cuisine: Irish
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 350kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • 125 g Plain White Flour
  • 125 g Plain Wholemeal Flour
  • 0.5 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 0.25 tsp Fine Sea Salt
  • 30 g Butter, room temperature
  • 200 ml Buttermilk
  • 40 g Roasted Garlic, approximately 1 head of garlic
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Parsley, chopped
  • 50 g Finely Grated Parmesan, Plus optional extra to sprinkle on top.

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (356°F). Preheating the oven ensures the best rise for the bread.
  • In a large bowl or stand mixer, combine the plain white flour and plain wholemeal flour. No need to sift.
  • Add the fine sea salt and bicarbonate of soda (baking soda), and mix well.
  • Cut the room temperature butter into small cubes and rub it into the flour mixture using your hands or a mixer until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Finely chop the fresh parsley and add it to the dough. Also, add the finely grated Parmesan. Mix thoroughly to evenly distribute the flavourings.
  • Crush the roasted garlic into a paste using a pestle and mortar.
  • Add the buttermilk and crushed garlic to the dough. Mix until all the ingredients are well incorporated. The dough will be sticky, which is normal for soda bread. Do not knead the dough.
  • Shape the dough into a ball using floured hands.
  • Place the dough ball on a lined and floured baking sheet. Use a sharp knife to make a deep cross on the top, cutting about two-thirds of the way through. Grease the knife slightly if it gets stuck.
  • Once your dough is ready, flour your hands and shape it into a ball. Place the dough on a baking tray with some non stick baking paper that has a sprinkling of flour.
  • Using a sharp knife, cut a deep cross about two thirds of the way through and dust with flour and extra cheese if you like the bread to have a stronger cheese flavour. The cuts in the dough help it to cook through.
  • Place the loaf in the preheated oven.
  • Bake the bread for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. This may take a little longer than specified so, to check if it's done, lightly tap the bottom of the loaf with your fingers – it should sound hollow.
  • Allow the loaf to cool slightly before serving.

Video

Recipe Notes

 
  • Cut a Cross for Even Baking: Score the top of the dough with a cross to ensure even baking and avoid a doughy centre.
  • Explore Flavour Variations: Get creative with herbs, spices, or cheeses to add a unique twist to your soda bread.
  • Use Fresh Baking Soda: Ensure optimal rise by using fresh baking soda within 6 months of opening.
  • Make Your Own Buttermilk: Create your own buttermilk if you don’t have any on hand.
  • Handle the Dough with Care: Avoid overmixing and handle the dough gently to prevent a dense texture.
  • Preheat the Oven Properly: Make sure the oven is fully preheated to 180C (350F) for optimal baking results.
  • Allow for Proper Cooling: Let the loaf cool on a wire rack for 15-20 minutes to enhance flavours and texture.
 

Nutrition Estimate

Calories: 350kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 460mg | Potassium: 270mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 418IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 184mg | Iron: 3mg

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2 Comments

  1. This bread is good, but doesn’t have much flavor. I can taste the roasted garlic but not the Parmesan. It needed more bake time than the recipe specified. If I make it again, I’ll try more cheese.

    1. Hi Mary, Thanks for your feedback, I always appreciate the time it takes to come back and leave an honest review. I agree, the bread has quite a subtle flavour,. However, this can also be dependent on the age of the Parmesan you use too. The more mature the cheese, the stronger the flavour. I’ve taken your comment on board however, and upped the amount of cheese slightly while also recommending to sprinkle some extra parmesan on top of the bread for that extra cheesy flavour. With regards to bake time, this can vary depending on the type of oven you use, how long it has been preheated for etc. Just like cakes, there are times you will need to bake it for slightly longer, so it’s always worth checking the loaf by tapping the bottom to hear that hollow sound. If you decide to make it again, let me know how it goes.

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