Irish Brown Soda Bread

Last year I started baking my own bread. I’d had a couple of books on the subject, but never made good use of them because I assumed that homemade bread was rather tricky and time-consuming. After I made a couple of loaves, my mind changed on the matter. I just wanted to make more and more.

It’s key not to get discouraged after the first couple of loaves you bake. Like any other craft, trial and error  lead to improved results. Rising times, folding, knowledge of your oven (all ovens cook differently) are all things you’ll have to learn and practice.

Most of the breads I make are yeast-based, but I also like the Irish classic: soda bread.
Soda breads are easier to make and can be prepared in less time – an hour if you’re in full throttle. If you’ve never made bread, soda bread is a good starting point; and if you are really interested in baking your own bread, the most useful bread book I have is Bread.

Instead of buttermilk you can sour some milk by combining the milk (1 1/2 cups) with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, and letting it stand for 5-10 minutes.

This recipe makes 1 medium loaf. Use stone ground wheat flour if possible.


• 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
• 3/4 cup all-purpose white flour
• 2 teaspoons baking soda
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Mix together both types of flour, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the center of mixture and pour in the buttermilk. Stir everything until smooth. I use my hands but you can use a wooden spoon.
If the dough is too dry, add some buttermilk.
Make a flat round disk of about 1″ thick and put on a floured baking sheet. Cut a “X” in the middle.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.
Let it cool on a rack.


8 Comments on “Irish Brown Soda Bread”

  1. Eggton says:

    Yours looks like a total successI’ve been making Irish soda bread all morning because I, too, am going to write about it if it’s any good. My friend Norah gave me her mother’s recipes–one for a traditional one that’s very similar to yours (I mean, it’s just 4 ingredients, right?) but with a Tbsp sugar (optional) and more flour. The other is not as traditional and has raisins in it. I’m excited to see how they turn out, though I ran out of buttermilk and had to take a tiny bit of sour cream and mix it with some milk to make up the last 1/6 of a cup or so. Yikes.

  2. emmycooks says:

    I love making soda bread, it can be ready for dinner in the time it takes to make a pot of soup. I like them plain like this, or with nuts/dried fruit/ seeds mixed in.

  3. Oh my! What fantastic looking bread. I’m liking the blog 😀

  4. Moe says:

    I just made this fast and delicious bread. I added some walnuts for a bit of crunch. It’s now one of our favorites. Bread with butter and a cup of green tea. A moment to enjoy!!

  5. Whenever we travel to Ireland, I like to drive a couple of hours away from Shannon and into the country in the morning hours. I am in search of a good smoked salmon platter, accompanied by a pint or two of guinness. Buttered soda bread is an essential part of the meal. A peat fire in the dining space is an additional 10-point bonus.

  6. Josie says:

    Oh wow! Since I came back from Ireland, one of the things I missed the most was this bread, will try this soon for sure! Thanks for the lovely cooking blog.

  7. I’m from northern Ireland living in NB. Soda and potato bread are standard in our house. Though, I make our soda bread into soda farls and bake on a griddle…you can eat them warm or fry them for breakfast…yum!

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