Irish Brown Soda Bread

Warm brown bread fresh from the oven slathered with butter and marmalade, a favorite for breakfast or in the afternoon with tea. I wish we could buy fresh bread like this at our neighborhood bakery but the good news is how easy this bread is to make at home. From start to finish this bread takes one hour. There is no yeast in this recipe and you don’t have to knead the dough. I found many recipes for Irish soda bread but I decided to go with one from King Arthurs Flour for my first attempt. I made one small addition, an egg. I formed the dough into a loaf and used an 8×5 inch metal pan. I still made a deep cut in the top of the loaf because how could I deny myself that simple pleasure? I used this Irish style wholemeal flour and it makes a great loaf of brown bread!

Now I can’t wait to get to the part about the ‘craggy’ dough because I love that description and sometimes the dough is called ‘shaggy’ which I don’t like because it reminds me of the shaggy dog and I don’t like to think about dog hair when I’m baking.

Preheat the oven to 375° and butter an 8×5 inch metal loaf pan.


3 cups whole meal Irish flour or regular whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 & 1/3 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter

1 egg


  1. In a large bowl whisk together the flours, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder. In a small bowl whisk the egg and add the buttermilk and melted butter. Stir the wet mixture into the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon or spatula, the mixture will be stiff and craggy.
  2. Turn the dough out on a slightly floured surface and knead it about 10 times or until it all holds together. Form it into a loaf, the dough will be sticky, I like to wet my hands when I work with sticky dough. Put the dough into the loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes.

How do I know when it’s done? First off, around 40-50 minutes, the entire house will start to smell good like fresh baked Irish brown bread. The loaf will rise about 1/2 inch above the pan, it will be golden brown and crusty on the top, the sides of the loaf will shrink away from the pan. Let it cool for several minutes in the pan on a metal rack. When you remove the bread from the loaf pan, tap on the bottom and it will sound hollow. Let it cool to warm before slicing the bread and enjoying it covered with butter and marmalade. As good as this bread is fresh from the oven, it’s also good toasted the next day.


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