Irish Brown Soda Bread

I first tasted Irish Soda bread when I was 18.  After years of spending vacations at the family cabin, my father opened up the checkbook and took the whole family abroad.  We collected notable family stories and even brought back a recipe or two.

Among the beautiful hills of Killarney, Mrs O’Malley, our B&B hostess, offered my mother her recipe for Brown Soda Bread.  In the crunchy granola 70s, we had especially enjoyed this part of the hearty Irish breakfasts.  When we got home, Mom engaged in a series of experiments to approximate the “whole meal” flour that wasn’t available here.  The result was a crunchy, hearty loaf that we have enjoyed ever since.

Soda bread is great for beginners because it doesn’t require kneading and rising the way yeast breads do.  Easy and tasty, it’s perfect to get in the spirit for St Patrick’s Day.

Irish Brown Soda Bread


  • 1/2 c all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c oatmeal
  • 1/4 c cracked wheat (or use an extra 1/4 c whole wheat flour)
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 (or a bit more) c buttermilk


1.  Mix dry ingredients, then cut in the butter (I mixed it in with my fingers).

2.  Add buttermilk and mix lightly until just incorporated.

3.  Knead until smooth, no more than 30 seconds to keep it from getting tough.  Form into a round loaf and set on/in a round baking dish or a cookie sheet.  (I put mine in the center of a glass pie pan).  Cut a cross on the top of loaf.

4.  Bake at 375 for 30 – 40 minutes.

Notes:  I often leave salt out of baked goods (coming from a long line of high blood pressure patients) but this recipe benefits from the added salt (though you might experiment with the amount).

Whole Grains

Formed Loaf of Brown Soda Bread

Brown Soda Bread Fresh from the Oven

7 thoughts on “Irish Brown Soda Bread

  1. Pingback: Irish Coffee Creme Brulee - Art of Natural Living

    1. Inger Wilkerson

      I am thinking about teaching one of my daughters to make it. She likes to cook but doesn’t have the patience for yeast. She was devouring this with peanut butter–not very traditional!

  2. yummychunklet

    I just made an Irish soda bread for this coming Tuesday’s “Tuesdays with Dorie” group, but I like the heartiness of yours over the one I made. Great post!

  3. Louise

    Ah ha now you got me! Thank you so much for posting this Inger. I think I’m still going to attempt Irish Soda Bread this weekend. It just might be brown!!!

    Thanks for sharing…

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