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Traditional Irish Soda Bread (Brown Bread)- My Mammies recipe for brown bread. This whole wheat bread is nutritious and fast to make.

Traditional Irish Soda Bread (Brown Bread)

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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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4.41 from 136 votes
Traditional Irish Soda Bread (Brown Bread)
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
1 hr
Servings: 8
Calories: 183 kcal
Author: Patricia Stafford
  • 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
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F (215°C).
  2. 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.
  3. In a separate jug, whisk the egg and buttermilk together (see note on how to make Buttermilk below)
  4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the liquid, 3/4 at once, into the flour mixture.

  5. 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).
  6. 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) .
  7. Place on a baking sheet dusted well with flour
  8. 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.
  9. Glaze the bread with the leftover bit of buttermilk in your jug and dust the top with rolled oats.
  10. 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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Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I’m passionate about sharing my years of experience to show you how to make game-changing baking recipes with over-the-top results! Join more than 1 Million other Bold Bakers in the community for new video recipes every week!

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Write a Comment and Review

  1. Aaron Cookson on December 28, 2018 at 5:44 pm

    Hi Gemma.
    Here in Australia you can only buy cultured buttermilk made from skim milk from the supermarkets.I have had a couple of problems making scones with this as they have stayed chewy on the inside.I just wonder if whole milk buttermilk would be better or am I looking in the wrong area?
    My Grandmother used to make a very good soda bread unfortunately she passed about 7 years ago and no one in the family ever bothered to get the recipe from her.

    • Gemma Stafford on December 30, 2018 at 9:00 pm

      Ah that is a tough one! I would say yes try whole buttermilk, let me know how you go!

  2. Michelle on December 27, 2018 at 4:22 pm

    Hi Gemma! Loved this recipe. When we were in Ireland a lot of the soda bread we had was seeded, any idea what kinds of seeds they added? I’ve been experimenting at home but can’t quite seem to get it right.

    • Gemma Stafford on December 30, 2018 at 9:12 pm

      I love that idea, sesame or poppy seeds would be nice 😀

    • Gerarda Cronin on December 30, 2018 at 9:15 pm

      I put caraway seeds in mine, just like my mother always did. Maybe it’s a acorn thing?

      • Gerarda Cronin on December 30, 2018 at 9:16 pm

        I meant to say “a Cork thing”!

  3. Cynthia Gravdahl on November 16, 2018 at 10:16 am

    Hi Gemma! Can this recipe be doubled? I am having a large family gathering over and thought I would serve home-made soup with this bread. However, I would probably need 2 loaves.

    • Gemma Stafford on November 16, 2018 at 10:21 am

      Hi there! Great question, yes you can double it as long as you bake it in 2 loaves. I’m so glad you like this recipe, enjoy!

  4. Nydia Mendez on November 5, 2018 at 3:17 pm

    Hi Gemma!
    I want to bake a soda bread for my son’s school country tradition proyect. Could I made it a day before his presentetion? What do you recommend me?

    • Gemma Stafford on November 6, 2018 at 3:42 am

      Hi there,
      This type of bread is best made fresh and served in a day or so.
      I suggest you make it as late as possible the evening before, then cover with a light cloth to allow it to go cold. It should be perfect for the following day.
      Thank you for being in touch, I hope this does very well for your son’s school project, it is a good one!
      Gemma 🙂

  5. Yolanda Belinstein on October 28, 2018 at 11:26 pm

    Hi, Gemma,
    I like your recipes and I wish to make your Irish soda bread. But because my little grandson is allergic to dairy I cannot use either butter or milk. Would it be possible to use margarine and soured soy milk instead?

    • Gemma Stafford on October 29, 2018 at 5:17 am

      Hi Yolanda,
      Yes! do try this, and do let us know how this works for you too.
      Poor little man, but it sounds like grandma is working hard to get things right for him,
      Gemma 🙂

  6. Kajal Jhaveri on October 23, 2018 at 7:47 pm

    Hi Gemma, any substitute for egg over here?

    • Gemma Stafford on October 24, 2018 at 1:59 am

      Hi there,
      This bread was not always made with egg. Back in the day it would have been made with just ‘sour’ or fermented milk, flour and bicarbonate of soda.
      Do not over mix, this will keep the loaf tender,
      Gemma 🙂

  7. Roxy Glass on October 13, 2018 at 2:28 pm

    The recipe is it calling for 1 3/4 cups of flour or 1 cup ??

    • Gemma Stafford on October 13, 2018 at 8:59 pm

      Hi Roxy,

      It 1 3/4 cups of flour .

      Happy Baking,

  8. Linda Du Plessis on October 10, 2018 at 3:16 am

    Thank you so much for this recipe. My family loved it. I started of by using your butter/ buttermilk recipe ???? and then made the bread.

    • Gemma Stafford on October 10, 2018 at 9:03 am

      Hi Linda,
      Good for you, well done! This is such an easy recipe to produce at short notice. We grew up on this in Ireland, a hearty bowl of soup, and brown bread! perfect,
      Gemma 🙂

  9. Anirudh on October 6, 2018 at 1:52 am

    What can i replace the egg with here? Would a flax egg work or maybe yogurt?


    • Gemma Stafford on October 7, 2018 at 2:18 pm

      You can just bump up the buttermilk. That will work 🙂


  10. Bushra on September 19, 2018 at 6:35 am

    Hi, Gemma Stafford
    Just wanted to ask can we make soda bread only with whole wheat flour. Can we skip the whole purpose flour and add whole wheat flour.

    • Gemma Stafford on September 19, 2018 at 8:11 am

      Hi Bushra,
      You can, but it gives a different result. I think you need a softer dough, and a bake in a loaf pan if you do this. You can of course experiment with this recipe, every family in Ireland has its’ own version,
      Gemma 🙂

  11. Marianne08 on September 6, 2018 at 7:06 am

    Hi Gemma, thanks to you and your mum for sharing this simple and lovely recipe. I made your bread with the buttermilk substitute and without the egg. The buttermilk, when baked, filled my home with a lovely aroma. My family had the bread together with curry (instead of our usual rice), and it was a surprisingly complementary pairing. I’m totally gonna eat this with curry again 🙂

    • Gemma Stafford on September 7, 2018 at 8:39 am

      That is amazing Marianne, I never though of having soda bread with curry, but actually it makes sense! Thank you for this great idea.
      thank you too for this lovely review, I appreciate it,
      Gemma 🙂

  12. Vanessa on August 19, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    This evening was Sunday dinner which as a family we all come together to enjoy a nice dinner after church. This evening we decided we would travel to Ireland. Somewhere I’ve never been but always wanted to go. I still have family there and hopefully someday soon I will meet them. We had Dublin Coddle, your Irish Soda Bread and your Bread pudding. I have never seen my family ever go through soda bread like they did this evening. They were eating the crumbs and it’s not an exaggeration. They scarfed it down as well as the bread pudding. They were absolutely delicious and so comforting. I thank you and your Mum for those delicious recipes. It made for good eats, full bellies and great laughs around my dining table. Much love and many blessings.

    • Gemma Stafford on August 20, 2018 at 2:22 am

      Ah! Vanessa, you made me a little teary!
      Thank you so much for these very kind words, I am really happy to have you baking with us. What a splendid idea too, around the world without leaving home, a great idea. Now you have to go to the source, a visit to the homeland is on the cards for you, i think!
      Gemma 🙂

  13. Binu on August 17, 2018 at 6:08 am

    Lovely aroma from the bread. Did a modified version with whole wheat and oats flour and used yoghurt instead of buttermilk. Came out well!

    • Gemma Stafford on August 17, 2018 at 10:41 am

      That’s a great idea because the acid makes the bread soft and tender.


  14. Malou on August 13, 2018 at 8:57 pm

    Hi Gemma, can I use bread flour instead of whole wheat flour?

    • Gemma Stafford on August 14, 2018 at 2:11 am

      Hi there Malou,
      This soda bread is also made with plain flour, all purpose flour, not strong bread flour.
      It also has raisins added at times, when it is known as spotted dog!
      You can add all sorts of things to this bread, experiment, use what you have to hand, but do not over mix or knead, it will toughen if you do!
      Gemma 🙂

  15. V on August 13, 2018 at 8:44 am

    I have a question. We are a gluten free house, so strictly traditional with whole wheat is out of the question, but could I use another flour? Oat? Almond? or some other non-wheat flour? Thank you!

    • Gemma Stafford on August 14, 2018 at 4:30 am

      Hi Vanessa,
      I have an oat bread on my list ( and this is an Irish recipe too.
      You will know to seek out GF certified oats, but I think this will be great for your family. Add seeds, milled linseeds, or nuts, or even raisins to rock up the flavor too. I hope this is of help to you,
      Gemma 🙂

  16. Bruna on August 3, 2018 at 2:41 pm

    Hello Gemma! Congratulations on your amazing website, I can’t wait to try this and another recipes. 2 questions if you don’t mind: could I use baking powder instead of baking soda (if so, how much)? And could I bake it in a round enameled cast iron pot? Thank you! Love from MexicoCity.

    • Gemma Stafford on August 4, 2018 at 4:05 am

      Hi Bruna,
      This bread is a traditional bread in Ireland, where, for some reason, yeast was not used so much in the home for baking.
      bicarbonate of soda, combined with the natural sour milk, provided the leavening/rising for this bread.
      It would in its time have been baked in a ‘Bastible pot’ a cast iron pot on the open fire, the lid covered too with hot turf or coals.
      So, yes, it will be great in a cast iron pot, lid on to keep in the steam, off for browning.
      Baking powder is already a balanced thing, bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar, an alkaline and acid to provide the leavening. I think you will need to increase the amount in this bread. I think 1 teaspoon per 4ozs/cup/113g should give a good result. Still keep the buttermilk, or a little plain yogurt mixed with milk. All will be well.
      Thank you for being in touch,
      Gemma 🙂

  17. jollybaker on July 8, 2018 at 7:28 am

    Oh wow, what a success 🙂 thank you so much for the recipe. This is my very first irish soda bread and cannot wait to eat. It’s still red hot and resting on the wire rack, but looks delicious. Used only spelt brown flour and it smells gorgeous. Followed the recipe step by step but forgot to glaze the bread with the leftover buttermilk because I was just so exited 🙂

    Happy bunny 🙂

    thank you Gemma, bless your cotton socks 🙂 xxx

    • Gemma Stafford on July 9, 2018 at 12:45 am

      Doesn’t this bread smell divine! Very hard to resist when it is hot from the oven too.
      well done you, I am happy when you are happy,
      Gemma 🙂

  18. Leonie Meggitt on June 24, 2018 at 8:21 pm

    I love your videos Gemma, thank you from Queensland Australia

    • Gemma Stafford on June 25, 2018 at 2:47 am

      Hi Leonie,
      I love that you are with us in Queensland Australia, thank you,
      Gemma 🙂

  19. Sherry Branch on June 17, 2018 at 2:41 pm

    Hi Jemma, we recently spent three weeks in Ireland and fell in love with the brown soda bread. I used your recipe with great success using Bob’s Red Mill stone ground wheat flour. However the bread we had was a darker color, almost a chocolate color and had a bit more texture. Is there a different flour that I should be using?
    Thx for the great recipes.

    • Gemma Stafford on June 18, 2018 at 2:19 am

      Hi Sherry,
      I am delighted that you enjoyed your trip to Ireland, and the bread of course. The recipe I have given you here is the traditional bread, made in every house at one time.
      In more recent times this has been adapted to our new way of eating. A slightly wetter dough, scraped into a loaf pan, and with lots of additions to make it unique to many restaurants/coffee shops/bakeries.
      The flour is basically the same. The additions make a difference. Oat bran/wheat bran/seeds/nuts/rolled oats and more important the liquids used to mix this bread al make a difference. Treacle is used to darken it, also dark brown sugar to taste, which has the molasses remaining in it. A handful of rolled oats, a tablespoon of oat bran/wheat bran/ a tablespoon of mixed seeds, flax seeds/sunflower/chia/hemp and then the nuts, walnuts are best, chopped, tender and delicious.
      An egg is also added, and of course the buttermilk. Mix to a loose consistency, too soft to handle, but not liquid, put into a loaf pan, and there you go!
      Bake for about 40mins in a hot oven. 200C/400f. Try this, you will be delighted with your own bread!
      Gemma 🙂

  20. Cortnie Parson on May 30, 2018 at 6:34 am

    I just got a new oven that has the steam bake option. Is that a good idea for this bread since there is no yeast involved? I didn’t use it this time, but I’m wondering if it would yield a better bread in the future. BTW, this was quick easy and delicious! Thank you.

    • Gemma Stafford on June 1, 2018 at 3:01 am

      Hi Cortnie,
      That is indeed a lovely oven, lucky lady! I have never used steam with this type of bread, but it is worth a shot. Try a small sample when you are using the oven for other things.
      Traditionally this was made over the fire in an iron pot, and the steam would have been generated by the evaporation of the liquids in the bread. Let me know how you get on with it if you try it,
      Gemma 😉

  21. NatashaCaddick on May 19, 2018 at 6:38 am

    Hi Gemma I made this delicious bread twice thankyou so much for this recipe I love soda bread and make your recipe every week now. I have it printed off and in my baking file love you and your recipe.

    • Gemma Stafford on May 20, 2018 at 7:51 am

      I’m thrilled to hear that. Thanks for trying out my recipe.


  22. JulesK on April 23, 2018 at 11:16 am

    Hi Gemma.

    Made this tonight to go with homemade soup and Crazy Muffins for dessert. It was so easy to make and tasted amazing. We’ve never had soda bread before, definitely going to make it again soon.

    Thanks Gemma & Mum Stafford, so lovely knowing this recipe comes directly from Ireland 🙂

    • Gemma Stafford on April 24, 2018 at 2:40 am

      Hi Jules,
      I saw your photo too, thank you so much for posting it, and really well done too.
      I am happy to have your loyal support,
      Gemma 🙂

  23. Ann Marie on April 22, 2018 at 10:07 am

    Are we able to double the recipe? I would like to make two loaves . Thank you

    • Gemma Stafford on April 23, 2018 at 2:58 am

      Hi Ann Marie,
      Sure, this would exactly what would be done for a big family, or a huge loaf, divided into quarters!
      I hope you enjoy this recipe,
      Gemma 🙂

  24. Amysue on April 19, 2018 at 11:28 am

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe, it was so delish !!!! Yet so quick and easy to put together and ready for a side with a meal fabulous!! Let alone so yummy!!! Thank you !!!

    • Gemma Stafford on April 20, 2018 at 6:35 am

      Hi there,
      Good! I am really happy to hear this, all of you Bold Bakers will soon be Irish!
      This was our daily bread in Ireland forever, nice and easy, and filling too,
      Gemma 😉

  25. kimberly Camacho on April 16, 2018 at 1:37 am

    so for every slice its only 3.5 grams of carbohydrates, or for every slice is it 28 grams of carbohydrates? Also how many slices does the recipe make.

    • Gemma Stafford on April 16, 2018 at 3:43 am

      Hi Kimberley,
      This is hard to answer, it depends on how you slice it. I do not go into this type of detail, but you can figure it out. It sounds like you are on top of it, so weight your slices, and calculate on that. Bread is carbs. This bread will be roughly 45g per 100g. but I am not calculating this scientifically.
      I hope this helps a little,
      Gemma 🙂

  26. Andrea on April 5, 2018 at 6:56 pm

    A warning: if you make your own buttermilk according to the linked recipe, because you’re adding vinegar/lemon juice to your 1 2/3 cups milk, you’re going to end up with more than 1 2/3 cups and have a super wet dough. I made this mistake the first time! Also, I forgot the butter the second time and it was still pretty delicious with extra butter on top! (Can you tell I’m not a great cook? XD)
    Thanks for the recipe and video. ????

    • Gemma Stafford on April 6, 2018 at 7:03 pm

      Thanks Andrea. Really glad you like this recipe.


  27. Mich on March 28, 2018 at 1:06 am

    I tried tgis recipe n it came out so well and tasty too. I used Italian herbs in it. Thank you for this wonderful recipe. I want to share the pic but unable to attach as there is no provision to do so here?.

    • Gemma Stafford on March 28, 2018 at 4:53 am

      Hi there,
      great, thank you for this nice variation of this recipe, it will help other Bold Bakers.
      There is a ‘submit your own’ button at the end of the recipe post, scroll down and there it is!
      I hope this helps, thank you for being in touch,
      Gemma 🙂

  28. Cynthia Fox on March 27, 2018 at 1:25 pm

    I used the measurements for this recipe and followed your video tutorial, however my dough was way too wet. I had to add another portion of white flour. I think next time I will try 1 cup of buttermilk instead of 1 2/3 and see if that solves the issue.

    I do not know if this is an issue due to measurement conversion or American flour being so different than yours.

    It turned out great otherwise. 🙂

    • Gemma Stafford on March 29, 2018 at 3:50 am

      Hi Cynthia,
      This is the first time I heard this about this bread. you are right though, flour in different places behaves in different ways, where, when, how it is milled matters, and the type of wheat too, and it is about how fluids are absorbed.
      So, add the liquids until the dough comes together in a soft clean ball, it takes very little extra to make it too wet.
      I hope this helps,
      Gemma 🙂

  29. Mini on March 23, 2018 at 3:08 pm


    Love this recipe of irish soda bread
    I had a question , how many days can this bread keep fresh ?

    • Gemma Stafford on March 24, 2018 at 4:04 am

      Hi Mini,
      Traditionally this was a daily bread, made and eaten by hungry families. Fresh is always best for baked goods, really this will be good on the day it is baked, and the following morning for toast!
      If you wish to keep this longer, then break it, into quarters as it is marked, and freeze it, then it will be perfect when defrosted.
      I hope this is of help,
      Gemma 🙂

      • Marina on March 24, 2018 at 5:46 am

        Gemma, You never responded to my question regarding buttermilk in the Irish Soda Bread recipe.


        • Gemma Stafford on March 24, 2018 at 10:03 am

          Hi Marina,
          Apologies, yes, that will work perfectly for you. Powdered milk/buttermilk is a great store cupboard essential. You can ‘sour’ any milk, including regular powdered milk too.
          Thank you for this question,
          Gemma 🙂

  30. Amy on March 21, 2018 at 5:32 am

    I don’t usually leave comments but I just had to come back and gush about this recipe. I’ve lived in Japan for many years and the thing I miss the most is the BREAD!
    This recipe tastes just like the bread from home. I didn’t have buttermilk, but I used the substitute and it worked fine. I also completely forgot to use an egg but it didn’t seem to affect it much.
    I halved the recipe to make a smaller loaf and Unashamedly ate the ENTIRE thing today by myself (I usually eat healthier, I promise).
    Anyways, thank you and your mammy for giving this expat a piece of home 🙂

    • Gemma Stafford on March 22, 2018 at 5:45 am

      Hi Amy,
      Ah! so lovely to hear from an expat, I always think that is the perfect name for us Irish travelers!
      What a different culture you now live in, and no doubt are well attuned to the food, people etc, but home is home!
      It is good to have you with us, and I am happy that you liked this bread, it really is the taste of home!
      Gemma 😉

  31. Donna Lamerson on March 19, 2018 at 2:58 pm

    came out great !– thank you for a great recipe

    • Gemma Stafford on March 20, 2018 at 2:57 am

      Hi Donna,
      Thank you for letting me know, I am pleased,
      Gemma 🙂

  32. McC_T65 on March 19, 2018 at 1:18 pm

    First time out the gate, amazing! I love this bread and this by far the best one I’ve found! Thanks Gemma!
    I added some pine nuts and raw sunflower seeds in the dough and it was “dough-licious!” Lol.

    • Gemma Stafford on March 20, 2018 at 3:29 am

      Hi there,
      I am really happy to hear this. Thank you for letting me know. I am so impressed by how many first time Bold Bakers made this bread, and so wonderfully well too, you will all be Irish soon!! 😉
      Gemma 🙂

  33. Marina on March 19, 2018 at 12:31 pm

    I very seldom use milk, so I always keep on hand powdered buttermilk and just mix with water for most recipes. So my question is, can I use this powdered form in order to make the soda bread, like maybe mixing it up with water ahead of time and refrigerating it. By the way, I live at high altitude, in Denver. I appreciate your thoughts.
    Thank You

    • Gemma Stafford on March 20, 2018 at 3:39 am

      Hi Marina,
      Yes! Actually powdered milk is a great store cupboard ingredient for lots of things.
      You can indeed make up the quantity required, and sour it, as we so here (
      General rule for about 5,000 ft, altitude: Reduce baking powder: for each teaspoon, decrease 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon. However, I think for this bread I would leave the raising agent, which is the bicarbonate of soda, combined with the buttermilk, alone. It is little enough.
      Reduce sugar: for each cup, decrease 0 to 2 tablespoons.
      Increase liquid: for each cup, add 2 to 4 tablespoons, you may need a little more liquid, have a soft dough, not wet, but soft!

      Increase oven temperature by 25 degrees F. 15C or so, keep an eye on it, start it hot and turn it back if it seems to be baking too fast. You are trying to get an oven spring in the dough before it sets in the oven, so a good hot start.
      I hope this is of help, do let us know,
      Gemma 🙂

  34. Jacqua on March 18, 2018 at 6:43 pm

    I baked this yesterday for St. Paddy’s day this is the best I’ve ever made and not dried inside it was the lightest Soda Bread WOW! tell you Mom her bread is a winner. What a treat to go with our Cornbeef & Cabbage and of course Potato of dinner. I have tried many Soda Bread recipes, every year I try a new one but none have been a success they have all had a nasty white flour taste the inside bread was always dry. I credit the Buttermilk & Butter and of course the Wheat flour was a awesome flavor. Oh above all your Mom gets the total credit!!!

    • Gemma Stafford on March 19, 2018 at 9:31 am

      Haha! My mum’s head will be swelling! do not go overboard!
      I am delighted that this worked well for you, and that you had a good Paddy’s day dinner, it sounds like home!
      Gemma 🙂

  35. Gracie Larson on March 18, 2018 at 4:38 pm

    Thank you to both you and your mom for sharing this recipe! I just baked two loaves – the house smelled lovely while they were in the oven. I just had a small piece with a tiny bit of butter. It doesn’t need anything more! It’s moist and delicious. This is definitely a new favorite of mine. I’m making some jam for it and will be giving a loaf to my neighbors because it’s so good! Thank you very much. Your YouTube channel is very enjoyable and your joyfulness while baking brightens my day. Thanks for sharing your amazing videos and recipes with the world! 🙂

    • Gemma Stafford on March 19, 2018 at 9:47 am

      Thank you Gracie,
      My mom and I thank you!
      Yes, it really is such a simple bread, imagine in Ireland, in poorer times, when there were large families to be fed, in basic kitchens, how this bread could be made in minutes. The jams too, and a great marriage that is too, well done you,
      Gemma 🙂

  36. Jayne H on March 18, 2018 at 10:31 am

    Hi Gemma,
    Happy belated St. Patrick’s Day! I made 3 Irish Soda Bread loaves yesterday and they came out fantastic! Thank you so much for sharing the recipe. It will now be my go to recipe for Irish Soda Bread. I also made your vanilla buttercream icing for a St. Patrick’s Day cake and was equally amazing! Am so glad I found you on Facebook and look forward to making more of your recipes!


    • Gemma Stafford on March 18, 2018 at 6:31 pm

      Hi Jayne,

      Thank you so much for the Paddy Days wishes. I had a lovely day.

      I’m really thrilled you like this bread. I hope you try many more of my recipes and please let me know if you need help with anything 🙂


  37. Trish on March 18, 2018 at 9:24 am

    Hi Gemma,
    I failed with my first attempt with your recipe. My dough was very moist and loose. I filled directions exactly. Can you offer any suggestions. I’m so sad! Thank you

    • Gemma Stafford on March 18, 2018 at 6:38 pm

      aw Trish. So I’m going to write a note in the recipe and that is because EVERYONES flour is different it means that your flour will absorb liquid differently then mine. So you might need more liquid or less. This is very common with flour, but especially with whole wheat.

      What you can do if you still have it is put it into a loaf tin and bake it. Or you can always try and add some more white flour to it.

      Hope this helps,
      Gemma. 🙂

  38. Michelle Kott on March 18, 2018 at 1:40 am


    I baked this tonight and am waiting to see how it turns out tomorrow. I wanted to mention that your weights appear to be off. 125g/cup white and 120g/cup wheat are the normal conversions I found. Could you please clarify that? I had to add a fair bit more flour to make it not sticky. thanks!

    • Gemma Stafford on March 18, 2018 at 6:08 pm

      Hi Michelle,

      I’m not sure what recipe you are looking at but my conversions and amount are correct. It sounds like that loaf you saw is very small.

      Hope this clears things up.

      • Michelle Kott on March 18, 2018 at 7:11 pm

        According to King Arthur a cup of AP flour weighs 125 g. So, for 1 and 3/4 cups that should be 218.75. Where did you get 265?

        I added quite a bit more flour to reach a non-sticky consistency. It turned out wonderfully, but I struggled for a bit.

        • Gemma Stafford on March 18, 2018 at 8:53 pm

          I see Michelle. I’ll review the recipe and see.


  39. Julie C. on March 17, 2018 at 2:52 pm

    Hi Gemma!

    I was looking online for the Irish Soda Bread I’d made in the past. All of them used things like margarine and only white flour, so not what I remembered from my “Little Irish Cookbook” from the 80s. THIS recipe is exactly what I remember and I’m off to make it right now.

    Thanks so much for this recipe!

    • Gemma Stafford on March 18, 2018 at 6:12 pm

      oh gosh, I have many books like that. I treasure them.

      Really glad you like this recipe 🙂

      • Julie C. on March 22, 2018 at 5:23 pm

        It came out beautifully! I told my mom all about it, how it’s dense and filling but not heavy, and she’s dying for me to make it for her. I had a friend over to share it with me, and she took home almost half of the bread because I told her to take as much as she wanted! So the bread was a total hit.

        The only thing I changed (because it’s what I had) was to sprinkle McCann’s steel cut oats on top. They were crunchy and delicious. I may try putting them in the bread mix next time. What do you think about adding a bit of millet to the mix? If okay, how much would you recommend?

        Thanks again, and I’m totally going to Pinterest the heck out of your recipes!

        • Gemma Stafford on March 23, 2018 at 5:05 am

          Hi Julie,
          See, it goes to show that the simpler a thing is the better!
          There are more modern versions of this bread, baked like a loaf, which I will do another time. This one has all sorts of additions, variations etc.
          Millet, certainly, a handful, would be good. The oats in the bread too, and seeks, milled linseed/flax seed too. So experiment. If you bake as a loaf you may need to make this a little wetter, especially with the additional ingredients.
          Thank you for your kind review of this recipe, I appreciate it,
          Gemma 🙂

  40. Natalie on March 15, 2018 at 9:59 pm

    Hi Gemma,
    I love watching your recipes. I always pick up interesting tips. Thank you. I want to make soda bread for my family this weekend with our corned beef and cabbage dinner. However, half my family is lactose intolerant. I can get away with the little bit of real butter, but not the buttermilk. Is there an acceptable alternative for the buttermilk?

    • Gemma Stafford on March 16, 2018 at 2:45 pm

      Hi Natalie,
      Yes, if you make a buttermilk substitute with Lactose free dairy milk it will be good. ( You could use a nut milk in this way too, but I think the lactose free one first!
      Gemma 🙂

  41. Jeff on March 15, 2018 at 4:48 pm

    Hi Gemma,
    Thanks for the recipe. I am making it for St. Pat’s. My grandmother came here from Ireland and my mother makes her recipe of white soda bread with raisins and caraway seeds. I’ll have to let her know she’s a fancy pants with her spotted dog! Can’t wait to share your bread with her.

    • Gemma Stafford on March 15, 2018 at 5:07 pm

      Hi Jeff,
      Yes, she will enjoy that, grannies love their grandsons!
      I have been told about caraway seeds in soda bread, but I never ever saw this in Ireland! isn’t that strange, yet lots of people with Irish family have heard of this!
      Haha she is a fancy pants! This would have been a real treat in poorer times in Ireland. Served warm, with lashings of butter, and for a real treat, strawberry jam.
      I wish you a very happy St Patrick’s day with your family,
      Gemma 🙂

      • Jeff on March 25, 2018 at 4:57 pm

        Hi Gemma,
        So I had to be a fancy pants meself and made the recipe with Odlums coarse flour. The dough was a little wetter than expected. It still came out great, but what adjustment would you advise?

        • Gemma Stafford on March 27, 2018 at 6:48 pm

          So Jeff the coarser flour like the one you used doesn’t absorb as much liquid so next time still use that flour but hold back around 1/3 of the liquid until you know how much you will need.

          Fine flour like I used needed all the liquid where as your flour didn’t. You will learn this really fast and will know how to judge liquid in the future.

          Gemma 🙂

  42. Erika Deco on March 15, 2018 at 8:40 am

    Hi Gemma,

    Would it be OK if I used all all-purpose flour in stead of half whole wheat flour?

    • Gemma Stafford on March 15, 2018 at 12:46 pm

      Hi there,
      Yes! and this is a white soda bread. When you add a little sugar, and a handful of raisins to this, it is ‘spotted dog’ a delicious thing served warm with butter!
      Gemma 🙂

  43. CS Odeen on March 15, 2018 at 7:49 am

    Hi, Gemma! Cheers on your beautiful bread; making several loaves this afternoon for my Da to take to his senior center tomorrow. One question: I don’t remember an egg in my Mum’s recipe…??? Is that traditional? I just remember the brown flour, buttermilk, soda, and a wee bit of salt. Also, I remember her baking it in cast iron skillet or dutch oven; I was just a wee lass, but I remember it being big and too heavy for me! 🙂 I did remember the poking of the holes in the corners; even we don’t mess with the Sidhe! Keep those tricky faeries from their mischief! 🙂

    Do you always use an egg? And, have you ever tried this in cast iron? Just curious!!

    • Gemma Stafford on March 15, 2018 at 1:00 pm

      Hi there,
      Yes, and this is a recipe which has changed according to the available ingredients.
      In richer times, such as summer, when eggs were more plentiful, then the egg may be added!
      Remember this is a peasant bread, it was using what was available. People bough as little as possible, and grew as much as possible, so everything was seasonal.
      The cast Iron pot, skillet, was used over the open fire, and later in the AGA. Not so much used in a modern oven, though I do use a Dutch oven occasionally.
      You are right though, traditionally the egg was not a feature, usually, and often it was sour milk. In the days before milk was pasteurized it soured, in a day or so, rather than going bad, as it does now. This was used for the brown bread! All has changed, for better or worse!
      Gemma 😉

  44. Areej on March 15, 2018 at 2:11 am

    Gemma dear can we put the dough in the bread loaf pan and make it like a brown sandwich bread?

    • Gemma Stafford on March 15, 2018 at 1:47 pm

      Hi there,
      Yes, ish!
      This is a dense bread. When we bake this as a loaf we tend to make it a little wetter.
      So, add 1 tablespoon of porridge oats, perhaps 1 tablespoon of treacle or dark brown sugar, and a little more buttermilk, until you have a dropping consistency with your batter.
      This type of bread is dense, it is not usually used for sandwiches, but as open faced sandwiches, with the fillings placed on one slice of bread,
      Gemma 🙂

  45. ClaireE on March 9, 2018 at 1:07 am

    I made this bread in less than an hour, baking and all (my mother’s gas oven is hotter than the surface of the sun when you pre-heat it, so it cooks things really quickly). I will be making this bread OFTEN, it’s fantastic, my mother – who is a picky eater because of allergies – really loved it. Thank you for sharing this recipe with us, Gemma, it is simply fantastic!

    • Gemma Stafford on March 9, 2018 at 4:08 am

      Great Claire, I am really happy to hear this!
      This was our ‘daily bread’ growing up, we had this with homemade vegetable soup most days after school in the winter months. Very sustaining too.
      I do not know why yeast breads were not traditional in Ireland, but this one was, best eaten fresh too, freeze in portions if you need to keep it.
      Glad your mother likes this one!
      Gemma 🙂

  46. Stacy Phillips on March 8, 2018 at 5:06 pm

    I just made your Irish Soda Bread tonight, I didn’t think to take a picture and now it’s too late! We love it and devoured it! Thank you so much for sharing your recipes with us!

    • Gemma Stafford on March 9, 2018 at 4:40 am

      Hi Stacy,
      Good! and that is the idea, this is best eaten on the day it is made. If you have some left you can freeze it. It was very much our ‘daily bread’ in Ireland, great with soups, cheese, and a boiled egg! Lovely toasted too.
      Thank you for being in touch,
      Gemma 🙂

  47. Kelly Tillotson on March 7, 2018 at 10:48 am

    Hi Gemma! We are loving your recipes! My boys decided to have a bake sale delivering this bread on St Patrick’s Day—they have 20 loaves ordered so far! LOL! If we made this dough the day before and baked early morning the next day, do you think that would be okay?
    Thanks so much!
    Kelly Tillotson (along without Brigham and Oliver ages 10 and 8) ????????

    • Gemma Stafford on March 9, 2018 at 6:43 am

      Hi Kelly,
      What a lovely idea, well done to you, Brigham and Oliver, young entrepreneurs!
      This is how I started too, making seasonal things for family and friends from about age 10. Good job mom!
      Now for the question! NO, do not mix this the night before. Have your flour and bicarb ready to go, but do not wet until ready to bake. You can do this when the oven is heating, then batch bake. If you weigh the dough you will get even cakes, it is a big mix to handle, you may need to mix in a few batches.
      I hope you have fun with this, make sure your measurements are right when making a big batch, and all will be well,
      Gemma 🙂

  48. Devorah on March 6, 2018 at 4:32 pm

    I just made this soda bread recipe. It is delicious! I soak, sprout, dry and grind all my own whole white wheat flour so i used that for the entire amount of flour called for. I also used raw goat milk with white vinegar in place of the buttermilk called for because thats what i had on hand today. It turned out so well! Even my kids loved it. I prefer not to eat yeast, so this bread is going to be something i will make often! Next time, I plan to make my own buttermilk and butter using organic raw cow’s milk cream from a local farm (I live in Washington state where raw milk can be legally purchased).
    Thank you for sharing this recipe, and please thank your mom for blessing us with this special recipe.
    I’d to post a picture of my bread but can’t see an option to do that.

    • Gemma Stafford on March 7, 2018 at 2:51 am

      Hi there Devorah,
      Wow! You are a busy lady, well done you. Great to have the lovely raw local produce too, really how things were in the past.
      Thank you for telling us about this, it is most interesting. We are getting some brilliant ideas here in this post.
      We would love to see it too, so scroll down to the end of the post and you will find the SUBMIT button there.
      Let us know of your further adventures with the recipes, really interesting,
      Gemma 🙂

  49. Kathleen Hoffman on March 6, 2018 at 12:01 pm

    That was really precious of you making the Traditional Irish Soda Bread, you make all the recipes seem easy to do for a non-trained home based cook. I think the secret is doing it with love, don’t you?
    Question: my coconut oil is white and hard, do I have to buy a different kind of oil when you I see you pour a clear coconut oil in some of your other recipes, like your new one of Twix?? Thank you again and again for teaching us and being so generous with your knowledge. I am still waiting for you to make a cooking line of tea cups to microwave in, Yours are so cute and inspiring like you!!

    • Gemma Stafford on March 6, 2018 at 12:10 pm

      Hi Kathleen,
      Thank you for your kind words, it is good to have you with us.
      I have to melt the coconut oil before I use it. As you know it melts nicely at a low temperature, and it is a great ingredient too.
      The cups nearly got there, and they will come back again too! Mine are a collection of begged, borrowed and stolen (shh! only from home!). I tend to look for these when I travel too, and charity/goodwill stores are a great place to find these. Ask for these as gifts too, I do, shamelessly!
      Gemma 🙂

  50. Carrie on March 6, 2018 at 9:31 am

    Hi Gemma! I grew up in the U.S. eating Irish soda bread made by my Aunt Patsy each St. Paddy’s Day. But I recall it always had raisins and caraway seeds. Is that just an American twist, or do they do it Ireland too? I made your recipe last year and it was great — but I think I’d like to add the raisins and caraway seeds if you think that would work. Thanks!

    • Gemma Stafford on March 6, 2018 at 12:32 pm

      Hi Carrie,
      That Aunt Patsy was a Bold one!
      Haha! she would be seen as ‘getting ahead of herself’ with all that grandeur.
      I applaud her, but it was not traditional. I never heard of caraway seeds in soda bread before, but the odd raisin did make an appearance!
      In white soda bread this was known as ‘spotted dog’.
      I think you should do this exactly as you like it, it will be good, and special for your family too, nothing better!
      Gemma 🙂

      • Gerarda Cronin on December 29, 2018 at 8:04 pm

        Hi Gemma,

        I’m from Cork, and my mum always put caraway seeds in her brown bread. I like them too. In fact, I made two loaves today using your recipe, WITH caraway seeds!

        • Gemma Stafford on December 30, 2018 at 10:51 pm

          YUM that sounds lovely! Such a nice addition 😀

    • Rosemary L Martin on March 6, 2018 at 8:00 pm

      Carrie, my Aunt Mae made soda bread with raisins and caraway seeds, as well. Every Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation and graduation party that was her contribution. I’ve followed a few different recipesthrough the years but I like it best with both raisins and caraway seeds.

      • Gemma Stafford on March 7, 2018 at 2:30 am

        Hi there,
        That is so interesting!
        I never saw this in Ireland. Usually when fruit was added it was to a white soda bread. This was called spotted dog, for obvious reasons!
        The caraway seeds were often used in a Victoria sponge type cake, and even then were an exotic enough thing, times past!
        I will have to do some deep diving into this!
        Gemma 🙂

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