This bread is a staple in Ireland and one you should try. Bake a loaf of Irish Brown Bread to enjoy with afternoon tea, with hot soup, or buttered for breakfast.
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On our trip to Ireland, my family and I discovered traditional Irish Brown Bread. Everywhere we stopped we found slices and loaves, and we quickly fell in love with this hearty, brown soda bread.
Once we were back home, we really missed those rustic slices. We'd grown accustomed to having a slice with afternoon coffee, with big Irish breakfasts, and for dunking in soup.
I wasted no time in creating my own homemade Irish Brown Bread recipe so my family and I can treat ourselves to slices any morning.
What is Irish Brown Bread?
In my Delectable Destinations posts about our trip to Ireland, I share that we enjoyed Irish Brown Bread everywhere: in cafés, restaurants, and with breakfasts at our B&Bs.
But the first time we saw it listed on a menu, we weren't sure what that was—just a kind of wheat bread? Something similar to Boston brown bread?
In fact, Irish Brown Bread is a type of soda bread, with no yeast at all. It's made with coarse, whole-grain wheat flour that gives loaves their color and the nutty, toasty flavor.
The Irish brown bread flour I use is Odlum's Coarse Wholemeal, and you can order it here.
Unlike Boston brown bread, Irish brown soda bread has no molasses, treacle, cornmeal, or rye flour, so the flavor is much different, and the texture is lighter as well.
Irish Brown Bread vs. Irish Soda Bread
White Irish soda bread, like my Great-Great Aunt Lizzie Reilly's recipe, is studded with raisins and often caraway seed as well. It also goes by the name Spotted Dog. This loaf gets a lot of attention around St. Patrick's Day!
Though Irish brown bread is also a soda bread, it's a much different loaf. The deep color and nutty flavor come from wholemeal flour: a coarse-textured wheat flour with visible specks of bran. It's not as finely ground as standard whole wheat flour.
What both white and brown soda breads have in common is that they're leavened with baking soda and baking powder. They work with the acidic buttermilk to help the bread rise.
We never found raisins in Irish brown bread, but we did discover that each home cook had their own favorite add-ins, like oats, wheat germ, seeds, and nuts.
Irish brown bread history
For the working class and poor in Ireland in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, soda breads were an inexpensive and nutritious food that households could rely upon to help feed their families. The simplest of soda breads contained only flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda, and buttermilk.
The type of wheat grown in Ireland at this time, a soft wheat with low protein content, was also a factor in the reliance upon soda bread. Breads made with this type of wheat flour don't rise well with yeast, but work very well with baking soda as a leavener.
Coarse and less refined wheat flours were the most affordable and were used to make brown soda breads like this recipe.
You can find it all over Ireland
If you're planning a trip to Ireland, I'm certain that, like us, you'll be able to enjoy Irish Brown Bread everywhere you go.
We had it with tea at E.J. King's Restaurant in Clifden, and with our breakfast at the Rossmore Manor B&B in Donegal.
The bread was also on the breakfast table at Murphy's Farmhouse B&B in Castlemaine. Before we took the long walk to Dún Aonghasa Fort we had brown bread and soup at Tigh Nan Phaidi Café on Inishmore.
The slices we enjoyed were cut from small, soft homemade loaves, and they were fragrant with a rustic texture.
It's no wonder that, once back home, we really missed this Irish bread!
Why you'll love this recipe, too
Trust me: you'll quickly fall in love with this delicious, hearty, and homey bread. The best thing about having a loaf of Irish Brown Bread on your counter is that it's a natural accompaniment with literally every meal.
This moist Irish brown bread is so easy to pull together—probably why so many Irish kitchens bake a loaf up fresh every day. Just blend your dry ingredients, then pull everything together with a splash of buttermilk.
I like to bake my Irish Brown Bread in a cast-iron Dutch oven because it gives it a taller, rounder shape. You can also just bake it on a flat baking sheet.
In her book "Irish Traditional Cooking" the famous co-founder of the Ballymaloe Cookery School, Darina Allen, says it's traditional, and important, to slash your dough across the top as well as to poke holes in each corner of the dough. This "lets the fairies out" during baking!
Don't forget to slather the baked slices with butter, Irish butter preferably!
🔪 How to make Irish Brown Bread
Brown Bread Ingredients:
- Coarse Wholemeal Flour: The brand I order online is Odlums
- All-Purpose Flour: Blended with the wholemeal, it helps the texture of the bread
- Sugar: Just enough for a mild sweetness that enhances the nutty, wheat flavor
- Baking Soda: That's why this is a soda bread!
- Baking Powder: Working together with the soda to leaven this bread without the need for yeast.
- Salt: Just a pinch for flavor
- Buttermilk: It makes the brown bread moist and adds flavor
Step 1: Mix the dry ingredients
Stir together the two flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
Step 2: Add in the buttermilk
Add most of the buttermilk and stir it into the dry mixture. Add more buttermilk as needed.
Step 3: Give it a very quick knead
Give the dough a few quick kneads to just pull it together.
Step 4: Shape and slash
Shape it into a ball and place it in the pot or on the baking sheet. Slash the top of the dough and poke a hole in each corner to let the fairies out.
Step 5: Bake
Bake the bread for a total of about 55 minutes, reducing the heat after 10 minutes. Let the loaf cool, then slice it up. It's delicious when slathered with butter or blackberry jam.
Plan to eat this bread within 3-4 days of baking for the best flavor and texture.
Seal it inside a plastic bread bag and keep it at room temperature.
While the sugar included here only makes the bead very mildly sweet, the answer is yes: you can absolutely reduce or skip the sugar altogether if you prefer.
- Get authentic Irish wholemeal flour like Odlums brand online, or if you're coming home from Ireland bring some with you. Another option is King Arthur Flour's Irish Style Flour. Get it seasonally on their website or at the Baking Store in Norwich, VT.
- This recipe uses a combination of wholemeal and white flours, for a loaf that's soft with great texture and a good rise.
- I baked my bread in a round enameled Dutch oven, which keeps the loaf compact and nicely shaped. You can also bake the loaf on a baking sheet if you'd prefer.
The best Irish Brown Bread is hearty, simple, and flavorful, especially when spread thickly with fresh butter or with blackberry jam.
It's perfect with breakfast, as a mid-afternoon snack or to whet the appetite for dinner.
The recipe for my Irish Brown Bread with buttermilk is below! And here are more recipes inspired by travels to Ireland:
💬 How do you like this brown bread? Leave a comment below. Sláinte!
Irish Brown Bread Recipe
- 2 cups Irish Style (wholemeal) flour
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, unbleached
- 4½ tablespoons granulated sugar (see note below)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1½ cups buttermilk
- Preheat the oven to 400° F. Have ready an enameled cast-iron Dutch oven or a baking sheet. Line the pot or the baking sheet with parchment paper. Have a floured surface ready to quickly knead the dough, and a bench scraper if you have one.
Make the dough:
- Stir together in a large bowl the Irish wholemeal flour, all-purpose flour, sugar baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Pour in most of the buttermilk and stir it into the dry ingredients. If the mixture still seems very dry, stir in the rest of the buttermilk.
- Turn out the contents of the bowl onto the floured surface—the dough will still have some dry flour visible.
- Give the dough just a few quick squeezes to pull it together. (You don't want to over-knead this bread as it will make it tough once baked.)
- Quickly shape it into a ball and place the dough into the lined pot or on the baking sheet. Use a sharp knife to slash a cross in the top of the dough, and poke a hole in each corner of the dough (to let the fairies out!)
- Place the pot or baking sheet in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 375° F and bake the bread for another 40-45 minutes. The bread should be risen and browned, and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
- Remove the bread to a cooling rack and let it cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing it.
- Serve slices of the bread with butter and jam. Tightly wrap leftover bread and use it within 2-3 days.
A Note on the SugarMy Irish Brown Bread recipe is made with 4-½ tablespoons of sugar, for a very light sweetness that nicely complements the wheat flavor. If you prefer, you can reduce the amount of sugar used or even omit it.
- Get Irish wholemeal flour like Odlums online. Another option is King Arthur Baking Company's Irish Style Flour - get it online or at the Baking Store in Norwich, VT.
- This recipe uses a combination of wholemeal and white flour.
- I baked my bread in a round enameled Dutch oven, but you can also bake the loaf on a baking sheet.
Thank you for this recipe, it did remind me of the brown bread I ate in Ireland.
I used half King Arthur Irish style flour and half Bob’s Mill whole wheat.
My only changes were from another rustic no-knead whole wheat bread recipe I use:
I added a tablespoon of oil.
And I put the lid on the Dutch oven for cooking- I read that helps generate the steam to create a thick chewy crust.
Like many others, I decreased the sugar to 1 tablespoon.
It was a lovely bread, and thank you!
Hi Brenda, I'm so happy you enjoyed my recipe for Brown Bread. Thanks for those suggestions as well. If you have time, I'd love to hear where you traveled in Ireland!
A gf and I hiked part of the Kerry Way in late July-early Aug this year.
We also spent a few days in Killarney, an afternoon at the Waterford factory, and a day in Dublin. What a beautiful country!
I can’t figure out how to add a picture, or I would. Thank you!
That sounds wonderful! We didn't get to see Kerry Way or Killarney, but maybe on our next trip. We did have a fun day in Dublin, which I wrote about in another post that includes a recipe for Potato Soup: https://hungryenoughtoeatsix.com/dublin-ireland-and-a-recipe-for-creamy-potato-soup-my-latest-delectable-destination/ It is a very beautiful country, and the people there are lovely.
This recipe is the best! I’ve wandered to others for a comparison and keep coming back to yours. I’m surprised at the responses for it being too sweet. I have it with just a little Kerrygold butter and it’s delicious! My family is from Galway (Connemara) and it’s very close to what we have in that region of Ireland. On a few occasions I’ve lowered the sugar to 2 tbl and add 1 tbl of Lyle’s Golden Syrup (purchased at Cost Plus World Market) and it’s the right amount of sweetness for me, and I don’t have a sweet tooth at all. Adjust the recipe to your liking and enjoy. I just made a loaf now 🙂
Kathleen, this is fantastic to hear! Like you, I find the sweetness in this bread to be mild, just enough to work with the hearty and nutty flavor of the whole wheat. I'll try it sometime with a bit of Lyle's syrup blended in. Thank you so much for making my Brown Bread recipe and sharing this feedback with me and our other readers! I hope you have the best day ever. 🙂
I have just made this receipe to the exact measurements and wonder if the 4.5 tablespoons of sugar was a typo. The texture, moisture etc of my bread was perfect but unfortunately horrendously sweet to the point it was like eating very sugary cake. I will try this again but with one tablespoons of sugar. I grew up in Ireland and the bread is definitely not this sweet. I think with much less sugar it will be perfect.
Hi Heather! I appreciate you trying my recipe and letting me know this. Although I do know that many brown bread recipes contain no sugar I found the loaf to have a nice, light sweetness with this amount, one that pairs well with the wheaty flavors. My readers seem divided with many liking it sweetened and many cutting the sugar back. The recipe should work just fine with the sugar reduced or eliminated, and I do hope that you'll try it again soon! Happy baking to you.
Oh also, where did you live in Ireland?
Unfortunately way too much sugar. Traditional brown soda isn't sweet. You may add a little sugar but it shouldn't overpower the taste.
Hi Gerardine, were you able to make my brown bread recipe and sample it?
Followed the recipe exactly after ordering Odlum’s flour through http://www.FoodIreland.com (my typical source for Irish goods, including baked brown bread, tea, puddings and rashers), but found the dough very dry. I had to add more buttermilk just to be able to knead it all together which still felt really dry… but overall it came out okay. The outside was crunchier than I anticipated, but it was good for a first attempt.
Oh, and I only used 2TBSP sugar since I like traditional brown bread and was nervous about it being too sweet.
Hi Aiden, Thanks for this feedback, I'm glad you were happy with the loaf in the end. That was a good call to add a bit more buttermilk to help pull your dough together. I hope you will make it again since you have all that Odlums on hand! Thank you again, -N
With regard to the crust being crunchier than expected, I learned a tip from my granny in Ireland. Always put a clean damp tea towel around the bread when it comes out of the oven and let it cool. This keeps the crust from crumbling when you slice it.
Coleen, that's a great suggestion! I hadn't heard that tip before, I'll try it on my next loaf. Thank you!
So easy to make and nice and light. Will definitely make again but will use less sugar. I didn’t have buttermilk so added some lime juice and it worked a treat.
Hi Sandra, I'm so happy you liked my Brown Bread! Yes, sometimes I take that shortcut too, and use regular milk with a little lemon juice if there's no buttermilk on hand. Thank you for sharing this, and I'm very happy that it's a recipe you'll come back to!
I just returned from my first trip in Ireland...I was in Galway, Kinvara, and Connemara. I would buy a ticket back just to go have the brown bread. I have been searching for the best brown bread recipe since my return. Yours looks like the best so far...I will use Molasses instead of sugar. My question is about altitude. In Denver we are at 5280 ft and I am wondering if you have any suggestions about changes to the recipe at this altitude. I ordered the King Arthurs Irish Style...
Hi Pamela, I completely agree that it would be worth the price of airfare to be back in the land of brown bread! We are hoping to travel to Ireland again next year, and Galway is one place I would love to spend time exploring. That's a great question about adjusting my recipe for high altitude. I found this chart from King Arthur Flour that I hope will help: it shows how to adjust the liquid, leaveners, and bake time for your altitude, and notes at the bottom that the conversions should work well for quick breads like this Brown Bread. Here is the link: https://www.kingarthurbaking.com/learn/resources/high-altitude-baking Please let me know how the bread turns out for you. Sláinte!
Rachel Ridge Feuerbachrbach
Well I tried the molasses and 3 C. white to 1 C. ww flour, and it was tasty. Today I've just done one with 2 T. sugar and half and half white and ww. This time I changed it by adding 2 full cups of buttermilk, some rough cracked whole grain hot cereal, rounded cupfuls of flour to make a bigger loaf, and baked it it in a loaf pan because I like a taller loaf. It came out beautiful - raised nice and tall and quite delicious. It's still a bit sweet so I'll try one more time with 1 T. sugar. Hopefully that will do the trick and I can keep on making it like that!
Looks like a good recipe! Here in Cork eggs and butter snd enough buttermilk are often added to make quite a wet bread which is baked in a tin ad it’s so sloppy. Makes a very moist brown bread (or brown cake as some call it). I find too that if I use sour milk rather than buttermilk the texture of my bread is lighter though it might not always be possible to get. Using ordinary milk doesn’t result in a great bread.
Hi Bernadette, how interesting! I haven’t seen a brown bread recipe with eggs before. With the eggs and the wet texture it sounds similar to a banana bread batter. It bet it’s delicious. I agree, we never have sour milk and I love the flavor/moisture from buttermilk. Thank you so much for sharing this - I’ll have to try the Cork version of brown bread soon!
Here’s a recipe I got from a n older neighbour. The mug is more or less equivalent to three quarters of an American cup: 2 mugs fine brown flour, 1 mug coarse brown flour (you can substitute other flours and make one mug white for lighter bread), half mug ground up nuts or seeds or oats or bran or combination, quarter mug melted butter or oil, 2 eggs, about 2 mugs buttermilk. Mix all above. Then add quarter mug hot water mixed with 2 tsp bread soda (baking soda). Put in greased loaf tin or dish and bake at 180 Celsius till a skewer inserted comes out dry (could be up to an hour)
Bernadette, you are so generous to share this with me - thank you! I think I have just enough Odlums coarse flour left, so I can’t wait to try this version.
One of the best things about sharing my Brown Bread is all the folks I’ve heard from here who’ve shared their own brown bread stories and favorite recipes. ❤️ Thanks again - I’ll let you know how it turns out! -N
I also have traditional recipes for brown scones if you’re interested!
Oh my gosh, I would love that! Thank you!
I haven't made this bread yet although it sounds delicious! I wanted to ask a question please : Is it necessary to add so much sugar? 4 tbls is an awful lot and I hate sweet bread. Do you think I could lower it without spoiling it? Sorry to be a pain! Thanks. x
Hi Jill! I think it's fine if you'd like to cut the sugar amount down. I will say that this bread doesn't have the sweet taste that you think of with sweet breads like brioche, Portuguese sweet bread, or even Hawaiian sweet rolls. I find that it's a nice level of subtle sweetness that complements the wheatiness of the loaf. But yes, I think you can reduce the sugar without negatively affecting how the brown bread will turn out. I hope you get to bake a loaf soon, and let me know how it goes! Thanks, Nancy
Rachel Ridge Feuerbach
I. So glad I found your recipe! It's my go-to recipe for brown bread now. I've tried it several ways, with more and less sugar, molasses, and changing the ratio of whole wheat to white flour. I also put a bit more baking powder and soda. I've liked them all but the full amount of sugar does seem to be too sweet. I've just done one with 1 T. molasses and 1 cup WW to 3 cups white flour. I'll let you know what it tastes like soon. 😉
Hi Rachel! I love that you've been experimenting with the recipe, and very happy to hear that it has become your go-to recipe. Yes, I'd love to hear back when you try it with just molasses. Thank you so much, it's wonderful to hear from you!
Really good and easy. We enjoyed it last night with some traditional British cheeses.
I probably should have kneaded it a bit more as I saw some points of of un-mixed flour, but not really critical.
I used wheat germ flour from Holland and Barrett as the Irish Style flour because I could not find the brand Odlums here in Kent, UK
Hi Marita, That's a great tip about the flour. I have heard from other readers that they've substituted a blend of whole wheat flour and wheat germ when they couldn't find Irish wholemeal. I'm happy that you liked it! What kind of cheeses did you pair with it? (I think that sounds like a great idea.) Thank you again for trying my Brown Bread!
I havent tried it yet, it seems lovely but what measurement do you mean please by a 'cup',
how many grams und and mililitres?
Hi Nora! One cup is the equivalent of 120-125 grams. If you look at my recipe card, there is a tab for "Metric" - click on this and all of the measurements will be converted to grams and milliliters. I hope this helps - let me know how this Brown Bread turns out for you. Thanks!
When you bake it in the Dutch oven, do you uncover it towards the end of baking?
Hi Ellen, I actually don't cover it at all during baking. I hope this helps!
I will be making this brown bread for Easter Sunday for my husband who is Irish, but I love the brown and soda breads from Ireland too! (I have a Polish background). I just have a quick question. Some recipes call for shortening or melted butter. Have you tried it that way and how does it affect the bread? Thank you for your reply.
P.S. I pretty much lived on brown bread when we visited Ireland years ago!
Hi Cecily, I'm excited that you're making my Brown Bread for Easter! Brown Bread was everywhere on our trip to Ireland... I agree with you, it definitely sustained us and we had it with nearly every meal! Please do write back and tell me how this bread turns out for you.
To answer your question about shortening/butter: I've never used butter in this recipe, or in my recipe for Aunt Lizzie's Irish Soda Bread. From my research, it seems that traditional Irish soda breads don't include butter (except to spread on the slices afterwards!) That being said, I think some softened butter could be cut into the flour mixture and it wouldn't harm the finished loaf. It might give you some butter flavor in the bread, but again, you can just get that by spreading butter on the slices. I would skip shortening because it won't add any flavor, and the bread is tender enough without it. Thanks Cecily!
Carol McAlice Currie
I used molasses/treacle in place of the sugar and was not disappointed. This is a lovely recipe, and it was not harmed by my tweaking it just a bit. It was a tasty complement to my Crock Pot corned beef and veg and Jimmie’s and ginger (Jameson reserve, ginger ale, and a lime twist) drink in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. Thank you for sharing. I was transported back to Ireland (if only with my eyes closed).
Hi Carol, That's wonderful that you were able to swap in molasses for the sugar, I would imagine it would take on a flavor of traditional Boston or New England Brown Bread. Delicious! And now I really want a Jimmie's & Ginger... I might have to dash to the store. Happy St. Patrick's Day to you! Thanks for trying my recipe, and I'll dream of Ireland along with you. 🙂
Lovely recipe. Honey also works in place of sugar.
Thank you, Marian!
Everytime my American wife and I go home to Ireland, the first thing we do, once we get to my home town is head straight for my local, the bridge bar for seafood chowder, brown bread and a pint of Guinness. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to travel this last year, so for my bday in February my wife had a cake made up to look like the chowder and brown bread. It was a hilarious surprise and the next best thing to being at home.
It’s March 16th, I’ve just baked the brown bread, Kerry gold is softening a bit and just poured a pint of Guinness.
Thank you for the recipe!
Happy St Patrick’s day!
I love this tradition that you and your wife have - where in Ireland is home for you? How creative to get a cake that looks like chowder and bread! 🙂 I hope you will both be able to return to Ireland again soon, it's such a relief that we seem to be inching our way back to normal. Thank you Daithi, for sharing this with me and for making my Brown Bread this St. Patrick's Day. Sláinte to you and your wife! 🍻
I am going to be participating in a virtual Irish Soda Bread Making Event tomorrow. I knew Saint Patrick's Day wouldn't be complete without Brown Bread, so I found your recipe and I am going to make it as well. Thank you for this recipe and I can't wait to get baking!!!
Wow, that's so cool! Who's hosting that event? Wouldn't it be amazing to be at an Irish Soda Bread event in person to sample all that delicious bread? Thanks for choosing my Brown Bread to make for this event, you'll have to write again and let me know how it goes!
I just made this the other day and it was amazing. We visited Ireland a few years ago and when the smell of the baking bread hit me, wow! Then I tried it with some Irish butter and it was just like being back there! I did have a question about the recipe. I seemed to have a lot of flour left that wasn’t incorporated after adding all of the buttermilk. I added a bit more and was able to get it into a good loaf but there was still flour left over. Did I do something wrong or is this normal? Thank you!!
Hi Ali, Thanks for trying my Brown Bread! I'm glad it brought back memories of being in Ireland for you - that's why I love to make it, too. I think I know what you mean: sometimes after mixing the buttermilk in, there will be a bit of dry, unincorporated flour in the very bottom of the bowl. When I tip everything out of the bowl to to squeeze the dough together, that's when I get to gather up and fold in any leftover dry ingredients. I hope this helps for the next time you make it. Sláinte!
I made this bread last week and it was so delicious. I'm just wondering if I could leave the sugar out so to have it more savoury for soups and meat.
Hi Sinead, thank you for trying my Brown Bread recipe - I’m so happy to hear that you liked it! Great question about omitting the sugar: I made a test loaf this morning, everything the same except without sugar. The bread turned out well, risen and browned, and still delicious. So yes, feel free to leave out the sugar for a Brown Bread better suited for savory meals. Thanks Sinead, happy baking!
There is an Odlums whole meal coarse flour and a whole meal extra course. Which would be better?
Hi Patricia, Odlums Coarse is the flour I use. I haven’t been able to test the other flour. Thanks!!
I make regular soda bread often, but I loved the brown bread when I was in Ireland- I ordered the flour - can’t wait til it arrives I am sure this will become a staple in my house!
Hi Meghan! It sounds like you were as smitten with the Brown Bread as we were! I'm so glad you're going to give my recipe a try. When you make your loaf, please drop me a line and let me know how it comes out!
Can you leave out the AP flour altogether?
Hi Micky, I think you could certainly try to make the bread with wholemeal flour only - if you go to the Odlums website, they have one or two "healthy" brown bread recipes made with all wholemeal flour. I suspect that the bread would be more dense and heavy made this way, but since I haven't tried it with this recipe I can't say for sure. If you try it, I'd love to hear how the bread turns out. Happy baking!
Just like mom used to bake . I could never make her bread but now you shared the recipe I can. And I can’t stop baking it delicious. Mom has passed on and so happy I can make for my family thanks so much
Hi Maura, this is so sweet. I’m touched that you’re making my brown bread in honor of your mom, your family is very lucky. Thank you for sharing this with me and for giving my recipe a try!
I double this recipe, and half the Suger, and add 2 tbsp of Golden Syrup, and bake twice a week, so wholesome and full of fiber.
Hi Norah, I love hearing that you bake brown bread so frequently! That's an interesting variation, to use some syrup in place of some sugar. I've never used Golden Syrup - how does that change the flavor or sweetness? Maybe I'll have to give that a try.
I don’t usually comment on recipes but this was 10/10 delicious. I rushed back here to save the recipe. It was so easy to make and tastes like Ireland 😍
Kelly, I am so happy to read this! Thank you very much not only for trying my brown bread, but for saving the recipe to make again. Eating it takes me back to our time in Ireland, too. Your feedback made my day. Slainte!
Thanks for the recipe, made it today. I was wanting a ' sweet ' version of the bread and this worked for my needs. I really appreciated the metric measurements! I had some Odlums extra coarse flour that needed to be used up. Cheers.
Hello! You're very welcome, I'm so glad you enjoyed it! And I appreciate hearing the feedback about the measurements. Have a wonderful day!
I live in Connemara in the West of Ireland and I bake regularly. Today I tried your recipe for brown soda bread and my family and I have not stopped eating it since it came out of the oven. It's sensational. The crispy crust and the melt in the mouth middle. I don't normally add sugar or baking powder when I make soda bread but I must hand it to you, it makes a huge difference. We ate the bread with salted butter, butter and homemade rasberry jam and I had some with a slice of boiled bacon. Devine. Thank you Nancy for your fabulous recipe. I'm looking forward to baking Aunt Lizzie's soda bread next. Thank you again for a wonderful recipe.
Hi Carol! I am delighted to hear that you and your family like my Brown Bread, and it means so much to me that you gave it a try. When we traveled to Ireland we had many versions of Brown Bread (including in Clifden!) - each made by hand in home kitchens, and I liked the subtle differences that each baker gave this traditional bread to make it their own. Do you make Brown Bread often for your family? Reading your comment made me realize I'm getting low on Odlums - I'll have to order more today and get more bread in the oven! Thank you for trying my recipe, and if you have time I'd love to hear more about the baking you do. ♥
I’m from Dublin and have been baking brown bread foe 30+ years, eating it for 50+ and have never heard of anyone putting sugar in it. It should not be sweet. I will certainly try it with some baking powder for a little variation but I will skip the sugar. I live in America and do not buy bread ever because of the American propensity for adding sugar.
Hi Grainne, I appreciate this perspective and I have heard from one or two others who grew up eating Brown Bread that sugar is not traditionally added. When I started experimenting with a Brown Bread recipe after visiting Ireland, I added sugar since it's normally included in quick breads. (Americans and their sugar, like you said!) The amount of sugar in this loaf is on the low side at least. I do think it nicely enhances the flavor of the bread without making it sickly sweet. In any case, I appreciate that you're willing to try my recipe with our without the sugar - I hope you will write again and let me know what you think of it!
I lived in Ireland when I was younger and this is the closest tasting recipe I've found.
Since King Arthur is out of it's Irish Style flour - I used a mixture of 100% extracted stone meal wheat flour and this I used my spice grinder to grind down some Red hard wheat grain I purchased at Whole Foods. I used 1/4 of a cup. It gave the bread the same texture as the coarsely ground whealmeal flour.
Hi Carla! I am thrilled that you find my recipe to be so much like the brown bread you remember from Ireland, thank you! Grinding the hard wheat grain is a very clever workaround to get the texture of wholemeal. Odlums is another good wholemeal flour to use when King Arthur Flour is out of their Irish flour. I can usually find Odlums online. Thank you so much for trying my recipe!!
I just made irish brown bread using 2 1/2 c King Arthur's Irish style flour. I lost my favorite recipe but managed being a little creative and it came out 😋 delicious.
I added 1/2.c. Quick cooking rolled oats, 1/2 wheat bran, 3 TBSP wheat germ, and instead of sugar 2 TBSP. molasses. Same baking soda, salt, and buttermilk.
I also feel in love with brown bread (and Ireland) on several trips there and had it with seafood chowder often.
Hi Denise, I hope you liked my posts about our visits to Donegal, Inishmore, Clifden, Dublin, and Castlemaine. After tasting Brown Bread on our first day in Ireland we were so happy to find it everywhere we stopped, and each version just a little different with the individual baker's own take on the recipe. Slainte to you 🙂
This looks delish!
Why thank you!
I live in Cork Ireland and your recipe is excellent. Where I live we would never add sugar to brown bread, but I know it differs throughout the country. Most important is, of course, the butter thickly spread on top😉
Hi Hanna, Wow - when someone from Ireland says my brown bread is excellent, I consider that truly high praise! Thank you for making my recipe, and for this comment which really made my day. And I agree - don’t forget that butter!
Hi! Can we make this bread in a loaf tin?
Hi Anam! Yes, you can definitely bake this in a loaf pan. Grease the inside of the pan then pat in the dough, leaving the long center a little higher than the sides. When I tested this in a 9-inch by 5-inch glass pan, I baked it following the same directions above: 10 minutes at 400 F then 40 minutes more at 375 F. The internal temp of the finished loaf should be about 180 F. Thanks for the great question - let me know how it turns out!
Made this tonight replaced sugar with honey
Worked a dream very tasty
I'm from Ireland best recipe so far
Hi Mary, oh I'm so happy to hear that you enjoyed it! I will have to give it a try with honey, that sounds so delicious. Where in Ireland are you from?
It was a great time. Love you too.
Wow! I came across this recipe while searching for Irish brown bread. This was the only one I had seen that used course whole wheat. I added the Irish flour to my order and have to say this is one of the best whole grain breads I've had. So easy to make I'll be passing this recipe on to my friends,
Hi Bill, I agree, the coarse wholemeal flour makes all the difference. Thank you for trying (and sharing) my recipe - I'm so happy to hear you like it! Cheers!