Irish Brown Soda Bread Recipe (2024)



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Helen of Dublin

Traditional Irish brown soda bread is made with wheat meal, not wheat flour. Wheat meal is coarser than flour and cannot be sifted. The texture bread made with wheat meal is more like that of cornbread than of American wheat bread. Unfortunately, the only way that I've found to get wheatmeal in the US is to order it online. It's worth doing so, I think.

Bob Morgen

I've been making soda bread for 20 years! Helen is correct that the texture should be more like cornbread but finding coarse wheat flour is tricky. So I substitute 1 cup of oatbran for a cup of the flour. And I don't use any butter or egg. The oat bran makes for a very moist loaf (unlike wheat bran, oatbran absorbs water). And I use 2 tsp of soda since the oatbran needs a bit more umph to rise. Sometimes I throw in sunflower, flax or pumpkin seeds. Sometimes a handful of oatmeal.


I made this with all whole wheat and added wheat germ. It was delicious and very like the soda bread I used to get in Dublin. Though, it was still a finer texture.


I have to agree with this, just based on a trip to the West Coast of Ireland several years ago. Irish Brown Bread is a wonderful creature! I found that the big difference was the flour and promptly set out to find a source...and discovered that King Arthur Flour has an "Irish style" flour that works quite well in approximating the beautiful bread that I remember so well from my trip.

Paul Keenan

While this may be very nice, it is sooooo not what the Irish call Brown Bread. Wheat meal makes it a different beast altogether (writing this from Dublin).

Sean OConnor

Odlums whole wheat flour is what Irish cooks would use in this recipe. It is made from Irish soft wheat. It is available from Food Ireland. One can use either Coarse or Extra Coarse flour and butter milk, made from churned soured whole milk, can be approximated by adding vinegar to reduced fat milk, 2 tablespoons to 12 ounces of milk.


This recipe worked perfectly, with the 500 ml. buttermilk. I used regular buttermilk, not low-fat which is thicker than low-fat. Perhaps that made a difference.


How would you sub wheat meal into this recipe? Would it be a simple exchange with the flour? Or would it require a different recipe?

Casey Jones

Agreed - the Buttermilk measurement should be a little closer to 400 ml


I made this today on St. Patrick's Day. I used some bulgar (as in Martha Rose Shulman's recipe) for half of the whole wheat flour to give it a coarser texture. I've never been to Ireland, and I don't know what their Irish Soda Bread is like, but this was very good. Crumbly and moist. Just like my mother never used to make.


I think the metric measurements in this recipe are off. My dough was more like a runny batter than the soft dough described in the recipe. I had to add quite a bit of AP flour to get it to the point where I could knead it, and the resulting loaf was a misshapen blob.

Bob Faser

Irish soda bread is an absolutely wonderful bread. It's the perfect bread to eat with a cheese of any sort, in the same way that the Jewish-style caraway rye breads of NYC are perfect with a deli-style sandwich.


I've made Irish brown bread, using non-fat yogurt instead of buttermilk, no egg and one tsp. of baking powder as well. Also use 2-1 whole wheat to AP flour and add 1/4 cup of rolled oats.

Will try your recipe. Thanks.


400ml buttermilk. Not 500. Delicious.

megan j

Mixed as directed, found the liquid to be too much. It was very wet. I ended up adding 3/4 C more AP flour to get it to the soft not sticky consistency. I measured by weight so not sure why it was off so much. Turned out alright with the extra flour though.


Truly traditional soda bread is wheat, water, soda and buttermilk. No fats added.


Added olive oil (extra virgin, cold pressed) 2 tbsp in the bowl, the taste had a very welcome twist, then reduced butter and added more olive oil, this was too strong a taste. Little olive oil should be used.

Holly M.

I did not have whole wheat flour so I used oat flour I made in my food processor (similar protein content to whole wheat flour). Turned out wonderfully!

Steve Braverman

The batter was too dry to properly knead. Looking at other NYT soda bread recipes it seems like more liquid is needed.


Crumbly. Works ok with milk for buttermilk. Knead dough for 3 minutes.

Barbara Kling

It is possible to get Irish style wheat flour for brown bread from King Arthur Flour.

Susan Y

If you are ordering Irish Flour online, go straight to King Arthur Flour. Their Irish Flour is amazing and very authentic.


Followed recipe exactly, and not my first time making soda bread. First time I ever had it fail though. Pulled out when suggested, knocked and got a hollow sound. Cut open, and the middle was wet batter. Probably wouldn't hurt to cook for longer than the recipe suggests, I had to put it back in for 10 more minutes.


I have tried a number of recipes for brown bread and none have come close to what I eat in Ireland or get from importers. I think the flours available in the U.S. just don't make the grade. Odlums makes a brown bread mix that is perfect. Just add milk (although I usually use buttermilk) and bake.Although the mix is complete, for a one pound loaf, I add one tbsp of sugar and 1/2 tsp of baking soda. I cook it in a ceramic loaf pan and brush a little buttermilk on the top to keep it moist.


This bread is like a giant whole wheat biscuit. I love a biscuit.


additionally; 2 TBL of sugar 1 cup loosely packed raisinsremember to cut cross on top before baking

Suzanne M

Very tasty. Mixed ingredients using a stand mixer, which made it even easier.


Super easy and quick. Way more flavor than I was expecting for a simple unyeasted bread. I could have baked for five more minutes, but it was still super yummy. Made with Sarah Bonisteel’s French Onion Soup and had both on the table just over an hour after I said to my family “I think I’ll make French onion soup and soda bread for dinner” big win two dishes packed with flavor.


I went way off course so I could use some pantry items about to expire. 1 cup whole spelt flour, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour. Used buttermilk made from Bob's Red Mill buttermilk powder. After mixing, I added all purpose flour (1/3-1/2 cup) to get to the right consistency. Result is absolutely delicious. I have no idea how it compares to the "real" version, but it's clear this is a flexible and forgiving recipe.

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Irish Brown Soda Bread Recipe (2024)


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