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Irish Brown Soda Bread

Soda bread is traditionally considered an Irish bread. The method of using buttermilk to react with baking soda as the leavening agent is how the bread gets its name. This soda bread recipe uses equal parts wheat flour and white flour which is why it is called brown soda bread.

Irish Brown Bread with butter

Ingredients for brown soda bread:

  • wheat flour
  • white flour
  • salt baking soda
  • buttermilk

This recipe for traditional soda bread has the option for adding a touch of butter and seeds as well if you wish. You’ll notice that there isn’t any added sugar in this bread recipe. 

How do you make whole wheat soda bread?

Soda bread is celebrated for its simplicity. No fancy equipment is needed. First combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk gently to blend. Then whisk the egg with the buttermilk. Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients. Mixing with a sturdy wooden spoon or even using your hands is a great approach.

Turn the dough onto a flour surface and form it into a ball. There is no need to let this dough sit and rise because it is not a yeast dough. Once the ball of dough is formed you’ll cut an X in the top and place the soda bread dough on a parchment lined baking tray or baking stone.

Note that the baking temperature for this whole wheat Irish soda bread recipe begins at a higher temperature then is lowered part way through the baking time. This helps to create that nice outer crust but then leaves plenty of time for the bread to bake all the way through.

What do you serve with Irish soda bread?

Soda bread is a dry, crumbly sort of bread. It is excellent with a warm bowl of soup or chili. Of course Irish stew would be an ideal pairing if you want to stick with your Irish theme!

You may serve brown soda bread for breakfast or for afternoon tea. This bread is lovely served warm along side a jar of orange marmalade and a pat of Irish butter. Though not a traditional pairing, I love my soda bread with this onion bacon homemade jam.

I am sharing a recipe for Brown Soda Bread. Irish Brown Soda Bread is a simple bread with few ingredients. No yeast is needed because baking soda combines with buttermilk to create the leavening in this bread.

The ingredients are mixed, often just by hand, and the dough comes together without much effort. Perfect for celebrating the Irish in you this St. Patrick’s Day!

Here’s another recipe for St. Patrick’s Day that you’ll enjoy. These milk stout cupcakes would be perfect made with a Guinness too!

Yield: 12 slices

Brown Soda Bread

brown soda bread recipe

Irish Brown Soda Bread is a simple bread with few ingredients. No yeast is needed because baking soda combines with buttermilk to create the leavening in this bread.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour


  • 1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 3/4 all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 tablespoon mixed seeds (optional)
  • 2 tablespoon butter (optional)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 2/3 cup buttermilk


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients-- flour through seeds. Add the butter if using. I omitted the butter in this loaf.
  3. In a separate bowl or large glass measuring cup, whisk the eggs and add the buttermilk then pour the liquid into the dry ingredients. Mix with your hand or with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together.
  4. Place the dough on a floured surface and continue to work the dough to form it into a ball. Flatten the ball into a disk about 4 cm thick. Cut a deep X into the center of the dough then place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes then turn the oven temperature down to 400 and bake for an additional 30 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool.


Recipe source:

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 162Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 22mgSodium: 368mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 6g

This data is provided by Nutritionix and is an estimate only.

Did you make this recipe?

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Monday 21st of March 2016

I really enjoyed our theme for this month, and it has been ages since I made a soda bread so I am going to have to remedy that soon. Sorry that the bread didn't turn out the same as those you enjoyed in Ireland - and I'm totally jealous that you have tasted the authentic thing :) - and I hope your next attempt is an exact replica.

Abbe @ This is How I Cook

Tuesday 1st of March 2016

I think there are like a zillion recipes for soda bread. I'll be trying one soon. Yours though looks truly yummy!

Karen @ Karen's Kitchen Stories

Tuesday 1st of March 2016

It sure looks pretty Holly! So sorry you weren't that happy with it =( Good luck as St. Patrick's Day approaches!

Karen Harris

Tuesday 1st of March 2016

One of my all time favorites and really pretty easy to bake. Makes me wonder why I don't bake a loaf more often. This looks beautiful.

Heather | All Roads Lead to the Kitchen

Tuesday 1st of March 2016

This is one of my favorites for eating alongside a stew or soup...or anything with juices for mopping up. Your loaf looks awesome!

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