Breads & Doughs

Traditional Irish Soda Bread (Brown Bread)

4.41 from 140 votes
Learn how to make my mum's Traditional Irish Soda Bread recipe which is such a simple quick bread you can make for St. Patrick's Day or anytime of the year!
Traditional Irish Soda Bread (Brown Bread)- My Mammies recipe for brown bread. This whole wheat bread is nutritious and fast to make.

Hi Bold Bakers!

In Ireland, we are extremely fortunate to have access to some of the best produce in the world, from butter, eggs, oats and much more. I was very lucky to have an incredible Mum who showed me how to cook. She made everything from scratch every day. For a family of seven, that’s pretty incredible. 

My mum says one of the greatest gifts you can give a child is to teach them how to cook. This is one of the main reasons why I’m here today. With my mum’s permission, I’m allowed to share her recipe for Traditional Irish Soda Bread with you. 

Traditional Irish Soda Bread has a particular look, but do you know what it is? The marking on top is a cross. It comes from blessing the bread before baking. Also you poke a hole in each corner of the loaf to release the fairies that can curse your bread if not released. 

A few notes about Buttermilk : Buttermilk is a must in this recipe and can’t be left out. The main reason is the buttermilk chemically reacts with the baking soda to make the bread rise. The buttermilk adds lovely flavor to your bread. Some people worry about tasting the acid buttermilk but once it’s bake you can’t taste it at all. If you can’t buy buttermilk, the next best things is you can make it. You can find my easy Buttermilk Substitute recipe as a great addition to this recipe and many others.

Tips for a perfect loaf of Soda Bread: Start out by mixing your bread dough in a large bowl so you have space to mix your dough, which will reduce the chances of you over-mixing and toughening your bread. 

Always level your teaspoon of baking soda before adding it to your ingredients. There are two very good reasons for this that can make or break your bread: 1): Too much baking soda will tint your bread green! Seriously, it gives your bread a greenish hue on the inside. Worse than that; 2) Too much baking soda can give your bread a very acidic taste which can be quite unpleasant, so remember less is more with the baking soda. 

For the whole wheat flour, I like to keep mine fresh in the freezer because I don’t use it as often as white flour. The oils in the flour can turn rancid over time so just freeze it and use it when you’re in need.

For a beautiful, crispy crust refrain from opening the door while baking. I know how tempting it is but believe me your bread won’t burn. It’s not going anywhere and it will be worth it when you take out a beautiful loaf of bread with a thick crust.

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Traditional Irish Soda Bread is made in homes everyday all over Ireland. It has a beautiful crust, a close crumb and a lovely wheat flavor.

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Irish Soda Bread doesn’t require yeast and no resting so it is incredibly fast to whip up. And the faster you make it the better the bread will be. It is what’s considered a quick bread.

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And don’t miss more of my Irish recipes.

Watch The Recipe Video!

Gemma's Traditional Irish Soda Bread (Brown Bread)

4.41 from 140 votes
Learn how to make my mum's Traditional Irish Soda Bread recipe which is such a simple quick bread you can make for St. Patrick's Day or anytime of the year!
Author: Patricia Stafford
Servings: 8
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Learn how to make my mum's Traditional Irish Soda Bread recipe which is such a simple quick bread you can make for St. Patrick's Day or anytime of the year!
Author: Patricia Stafford
Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups (265g/ 9oz) whole wheat flour (fine or coarsely ground)
  • 1 3/4 cups (265g/9oz) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons (30g/1oz) butter, cold
  • 1 egg
  • 1 2/3 cups (400ml) buttermilk*
  • 1 tablespoons oats

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425°F (215°C).
  • Mix together the flours, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl. Add the butter and rub into the flour mixture with your fingertips until it resembles bread crumbs.
  • In a separate jug, whisk the egg and buttermilk together (see note on how to make Buttermilk below)
  • Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the liquid, 3/4 at once, into the flour mixture.
  • Using an open hand bring the flour and liquid together to a loose dough. The dough should be quite soft, but not too sticky. You will know then if it needs more of the liquids. (Flour in different places reacts differently to added liquid).
  • Turn onto a floured work surface and gently bring the dough together into a round about 1 1/2 inches (4cm) thick (8 inches by 8 inches) .
  • Place on a baking sheet dusted well with flour
  • Score the bread by blessing it with a deep cross on top. Poke a hole in the 4 corners of the bread to release the fairies and stop them from cursing your beautiful bread.
  • Glaze the bread with the leftover bit of buttermilk in your jug and dust the top with rolled oats.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, then turn down the oven to 400°F (200°C) and bake for 30 minutes more. When done, the loaf will sound slightly hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove from the baking sheet and place on a wire rack to cool.

Recipe Notes

6 SmarPoints
5 PointsPlus Points
*For every Cup of Buttermilk needed mix 1 cup of regular milk with 2 tablespoons of Lemon juice or white vinegar. Mix and let it stand for a minimum of 30 minutes before using.
Nutrition Facts
Traditional Irish Soda Bread (Brown Bread)
Amount Per Serving (8 g)
Calories 183 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Fat 4g6%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 33mg11%
Sodium 583mg25%
Carbohydrates 28g9%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 7g14%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 

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Comments & Reviews

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RF74
Member
RF74
2 months ago

Even better this time! Almost like yours. The crust is thinner than before and the inside is moist but not gooey. Almost perfect.

RF74
Member
RF74
3 months ago

Hi Gemma. Finally I can tell you that I made a really good Traditional Irish Soda Bread. Prepared ingredients last night. Baked at 405F for 16minutes then 380F for 33 minutes. Had it right out of oven with butter, strawberry jam, blueberry jam and peach jam for breakfast. Then I wrapped it with a clean tea towel. It’s so soft inside this time!

ruth
Guest
ruth
3 months ago

can i use strong white bread flour and wholemeal bread flour for making irish brown soda bread or is it better just to use plain wholemeal and white flour. Thanks. Ruth

RF74
Member
RF74
3 months ago

I just love how simple but delicious it is! In order to fight the morning brain, I weighed out dry ingredients and wet ingredients in two bowls. Considering the butter needs to be cold, I rubbed the butter into dry ingredients and refrigerated it as the wet ones. It turned out great and less stressful. The size at least tripled ! But I do think I need to score it shallower and bake it for shorter time to get a slightly thinner crust. Thank you!

Kim Pouncy
Guest
Kim Pouncy
3 months ago

I just made the Irish soda bread and it turned out great!!! Especially since I made it with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Baking flour. So a great tasting GLUTEN FREE bread you can make at home! Thanks for the great recipe!

Aileen
Guest
Aileen
5 months ago

Hi Gemma,
I just came across your website and I’m excited to try out loads of recipes!
You’ve inspired me! I’ll have to make some soda bread for the weekend!
Just one question about the soda bread – my granny and aunts never put eggs in their soda bread, but all the other ingredients are the same – does the egg or lack of egg change the bread significantly?

Kendall Stark
Guest
Kendall Stark
7 months ago

Hi, Gemma. I was really looking forward to making this bread! I got everything measured properly, but after pouring in the buttermilk/egg mixture, the resulting batter was more like a thick paste. I tried adding in more flour, but knew that if I kept mixing the bread would come out tough. So, I threw it all out. I even watched your video at least 5 times and saw that you hadn’t used all your liquid, and neither did I. Could one and two-thirds cups be too much? Any tips would be helpful, since I want to give this another go.

JonEnge
Member
JonEnge
7 months ago

I love this! Thank you so much! I had to add a little more flour both times I’ve made it as I added too much wet too fast but we did Corned beef with veg and I whipped up this soda bread to go with and it was a huge success!

Bjpickens
Member
Bjpickens
7 months ago

I made this on St Patrick’s Day to go with my homemade Butter. It came out pretty and delicious. I did add about 3 tbsp. Sugar to the dough mix and some oatmeal to the top.
Next time I will try with GF flour! I love Gemma’s recipes.

James Rook
Guest
James Rook
7 months ago

I tried this recipe 3 times now thinking I made a mistake. Measured exactly 265 grams of AP flour and 265 grams of course wholemeal and 400 ml of buttermilk along with the rest of the ingredients. The dough was extremely sticky and more like a batter. Baked it anyway but the loaf is very dense to say the least. The second try was the same but substituted bread flour for the AP. Same results so I added more wholemeal to get the dough somewhat drier. Very, very dense loaf. Baking the 3rd attempt now. Again followed the recipe exactly,… Read more »

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About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere! No matter your skills, I have you covered. Sign up for a FREE profile and join millions of other Bold Bakers in the community for new dessert recipes, baking techniques, and more every week!

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