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Irish Soda Bread (Irish Brown Bread)

Irish Soda Bread (Irish Brown Bread)

Irish soda bread is a traditional Irish bread that was baked by the poorer class of people in Ireland using only basic ingredients and it was used to go along with their soups and stews.  It is a very easy bread to make and does not require any kneading at all since it has no yeast.   This is what the Irish call Irish brown bread.

The are many variations of  this bread throughout Ireland, probably as many as there are families. This recipe for traditional Irish soda bread comes from a family On Cape Clear in Ireland.

You may have seen Irish soda bread with raisins or caraway seeds but this is not how the Irish make their bread. They do have an all white flour soda bread recipe but most people will make this version which is also called Irish brown bread.

How this Soda Bread Recipe Was Passed Down To Me:

Years ago, my husband lived in Ireland after college and worked many odd jobs to make a living. Full time jobs are difficult to come by in Ireland without being a citizen. While he traveled all around Ireland living in different places, one of his his jobs where he was living on Cape Clear Island was painting fences for a local goat farmer.

The husband on the farm tended to the goats and the wife made the most amazing artisanal cheeses from the goats milk. She also had a wonderful recipe of her own for Irish soda bread which she shared with my husband.

This soda bread recipe is the recipe that she shared and we all love it and I have been making it for years! It is traditional and what the Irish bake most often!

To make this Irish Soda Bread (Brown Bread) recipe you will need:

  • Regular All Purpose Flour
  • Whole Wheat Flour
  • Old Fashioned Oats
  • Buttermilk
  • Salt
  • Baking soda
  • Brown Sugar

Now in Ireland, they would say you need brown flour for your bread. The flour that is found there is not the same as other countries so I have combined regular all purpose flour with whole wheat flour. It works perfectly.

This Irish soda bread is also a no knead bread recipe and it is so hearty. As you can see from the ingredients, the leavening agents are the baking soda and buttermilk. The acidity from the buttermilk helps activate the baking soda and give the bread its rise.

The consistency of the batter is very thick and sticky almost like a very thick oatmeal. If you can mix ingredients, you can make this bread!

The bread is ready to go in the oven. The X shape on top is traditional when making this bread.

If you do not have buttermilk you can substitute a mixture of milk and lemon juice although I highly recommend the buttermilk!

When baking this Irish brown bread, you will want a nice heavy pot with a lid. I used a cast iron dutch oven for this bread. When you bake the bread with a lid on it, the steam is trapped inside creating a nice tender loaf.

It is so easy to make and really delicious. It is best served fresh with some butter on top or a thin spread of goat cheese if you have it on hand.

My family will basically eat the whole loaf right from the oven with the butter. When you make this you will want to do the same!

Words cannot describe how good this is! A nice crust on the outside, with a soft and lightly sweet oat flavored inside.

If you are looking for some more bread recipes and want to try your hand at making other types of bread then you may like my homemade ciabatta bread recipe or my aged pizza dough recipe.

I hope you give this recipe a try! It is so good.

Irish Soda Bread

A delicious and easy Irish soda bread recipe from Cape Clear Ireland that you will love to make anytime of year.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 1 bread loaf


  • 1 1/2 – 1 3/4 cups of buttermilk see directions below. If you do not have buttermilk you can substitute 1 1/2 cups of milk mixed with 1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar.
  • 1 cup All purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (if you don't have whole wheat flour you can substitute all purpose white flour)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar packed
  • 1 1/2 cups oats (old fashioned)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt


  • Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees.
  • Get a large dutch oven out and place a sheet of parchment paper inside the dutch oven and set aside. Don't worry if the parchment paper overlaps the dutch oven.
  • In a large bowl sift your flours, baking soda and salt. Now add your brown sugar and mix it into the flour mixture. Add your oats and mix that around. 
  • Now add your buttermilk. The original recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk but I found this was too dry (maybe because it is always so wet in Ireland that breads need less liquids), so I added an additional 1/4 cup of buttermilk so that the dough is moist not crumbly and it came out great. So the total amount of buttermilk I used was 1 3/4 cups.
  • After you add your buttermilk mix it well by folding your dough around with a spoon making sure to get all of the flour incorporated into the buttermilk.
  • Once that is done, bring your bowl over to your dutch oven and dump the dough right in to it.
  • With the back of a spoon or a spatula, smooth out your dough into a round even shape. Score the top of your dough with a very sharp knife into an X pattern making sure to only score halfway through the dough. This is a traditional pattern for Irish soda bread.
  • Now place the lid on your dutch oven and place it in your pre-heated oven for 45 minutes.
  • After 45 minutes, remove the lid and bake for another 10 minutes to give the bread a nice brown golden crust.
  • When done, remove from the oven and take your bread out of the dutch oven and place on a baking rack for 30 minutes to cool.
  • With a serrated knife, cut your bread into 1 inch slices. The bread will have a nice hard crust on the top and bottom and the inside will be nice and soft.

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