Irish Brown Soda Bread

Irish brown soda bread is served in homes and restaurants throughout Ireland. Its rustic, nutty flavor are the perfect addition to a meal. This bread is savory, not sweet. Traditionally served warm with salted butter alongside hearty stews, citrus jellies on top are another favorite spread for breakfast with a pot of tea.

Most families have their own Irish brown soda bread recipe passed down through the generations. It’s an integral part of daily life. Baking techniques vary. Northern Ireland regions divide the dough into quarters and cook the sections on a griddle. The south’s Republic of Ireland bakes loaves in a round pan and cuts a cross on top of the dough prior to placing it in the oven.

Modern versions of the staple include raisins, seeds, honey, even Guinness. But the classic Irish brown soda bread sticks to the basics such as the following recipe. Enjoy!


● 2 cups whole wheat flour

● 1 cup bran flour

● 1/4 cup wheat germ (the center of the wheat kernel)

● 1 cup All-purpose flour

● 2 tsp. sugar

● 1 tsp. salt

● 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

● 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

● 2 cups buttermilk

Recipe & Preparation:

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2) Combine the whole wheat flour, bran flour, and wheat germ.

3) Add the all-purpose flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Stir all the ingredients together.

Buttermilk for Irish brown soda bread.

4) Pour in the buttermilk. Mix together with a spoon until the buttermilk is worked in and the flour has absorbed all the liquid. It will have a craggy texture.

5) Put the dough on a board. Not all cutting boards are created equal. Bamboo boards are durable, lightweight and most don’t have added dyes or stains. Here is a good quality board:

Cutting board.

6) Knead the dough with your hands to mix thoroughly. Form into a 6” round.

7) Cut a 5” cross sign on the top about 1/4” deep. This allows the bread to spread when it bakes.

8) Transfer the dough into an 8” round, lightly greased cake pan. If you don’t have a cake pan, here is a good one to purchase. It won’t rust or warp. It’s easy to clean and durable:

9) Bake on the middle rack for 40-45 minutes. Rotate the loaf in the oven at about 20-25 minutes.

10) Remove bread after 45 minutes. Test the temperature inside the bread with a cooking thermometer. It should read 185 degrees.   

11) Invert the pan to remove the bread. Place the bread on a cooling rack for about 1 hour. Here is a link to purchase a good cooling/cooking rack. I use mine for many things, including roasting veggies in the oven:

12) Top with softened Irish salted butter.

This bread pairs perfectly with Irish stew.

Related posts:

Irish Stew with Carrots and Turnips recipe


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