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Brown Soda Bread

Distinctly different from the classic American version, this brown bread is the traditional soda bread from Ireland.

Brown Soda Bread

This soda bread is what the Irish call the real soda bread, a brown bread. Made with a mix of whole wheat and all-purpose flours as well as rolled oats, this bread gets a touch of sweetness and depth of color from molasses. Enjoy this bread all year long, especially warm from the oven with a thick slathering of salted Irish butter. If you prefer an American Irish Soda Bread, slightly sweet and studded with raisins and caraway seeds, I have a great recipe for that, too!

Equipment: measuring spoons; wet and dry measuring cups; large and medium mixing bowls; whisk; polish dough hook or fork; spatula or dough scraper; sheet pan; parchment paper or nonstick baking liner; chef's knife

Ingredients: 3 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

½ cup rolled oats

1½ teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1¾ cups buttermilk

2 tablespoons molasses

1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a nonstick baking liner and set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours, oats, salt, and baking soda, mixing well. Set aside.

3. Whisk together the molasses and buttermilk in a medium mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the buttermilk mixture. Using a fork or polish dough hook, stir the liquid, gradually drawing in the flour until a dough forms.

4. With floured hands, knead the dough for 2-3 minutes on a lightly floured work surface.

5. Shape the dough into a round and place on the lined baking sheet. Cut a cross in the top using a chef's knife.

6. Bake in the preheated 450°F oven for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 400°F. Bake for an additional 20-22 minutes, or until the bottom of the bread is hollow when tapped (see video below).

7. Slice and serve warm with room temperature salted Irish butter!

Store covered/wrapped/bagged for up to 5 days at room temperature.

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1 Comment

jennifer welch
jennifer welch
Mar 17, 2020

I tried both your American version recipe (with and without the caraway seeds), and traditional Irish version recipe. All were delicious. A few questions:

1. American version: Before you put the dough in the pan, do you grease with butter and add flour to the bottom?

2. American version: do you ever do an egg wash on top before baking?

3. Irish version: this was my favorite of the three but it came out a bit doughy in the center despite doing the knock test you taught us on the bottom of the loaf. Just needs longer in the oven, correct?

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