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Traditional Brown Irish Soda Bread

July 29, 2010 | Breads,

Oh man, am I ever happy! I fell in love with this bread in Ireland, purchased a cookbook in the small town of Ballyvaughan in County Clare, tweaked the recipe a bit, and produced a stunningly “correct” traditional brown bread just like I had in Ireland. I LOVE when my cooking works out that way!There might seem like more ingredients for this type of bread than traditional yeast breads, but in fact it comes together much more quickly with little chance of error. This is made in the style of a quick bread, like zucchini bread. And part of the reason you see so many ingredients is that each slice is packed with 4 grams of fiber – thanks to the use of whole wheat flour, wheat bran, and pinhead oats (also called Irish oats or steelcut oats).Simply mix the dry ingredients together in the mixing bowl, then add the wet ones for about 20 seconds on slow. You’ll have a very wet batter/dough that looks like this.By the time you spoon it into the pan, it will already begin rising a bit thanks to the baking soda.I wrapped up half of the loaf to take to my dad this weekend, as he has a weak spot for it as well. See how dense and grainy it is?Despite the bread seeming plenty moist – thanks to the buttermilk I’m sure – it really is a bit crumbly and tastes best with plenty of true Irish butter. Without the real thing, I had to substitute Land of Lakes light butter, which did a decent job of subbing (and for which my waist is probably grateful).Thanks for the recipe Ballyvaughan!

Traditional Brown Irish Soda Bread
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Adapted from the Ballyvaughan Farmers' Market Cookbook
Recipe type: Breads
Serves: 16-20
  • 12 ounces whole wheat flour (2 cups)
  • 4 ounces all purpose flour (2/3 cup)
  • 2 ounces pinhead oats (also called Irish or steel cut) (1/3 cup)
  • 2 ounces wheat bran (1 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  1. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Combine egg and buttermilk, then pour into bowl and mix to form a soft dough similar in texture to zucchini bread batter. Pour dough into a greased loaf pan and bake at 375 degrees for about 50 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before slicing. Serve with plenty of rich Irish butter!


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