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Sliced wheat soda bread with oats
Food,  Recipes

Delightfully Easy Irish Brown Soda Bread Recipe

Looking for a delicious and healthy Irish Brown Soda Bread recipe? Look no further! This easy bread recipe is made without yeast so you’ll have a traditional Irish Brown Soda Bread loaf on your table in just a few simple steps.

It is perfect for serving with hearty dishes like stews and casseroles, or simply enjoyed on its own with a smear of butter. Give this healthy Irish Brown Soda Bread a try today!

What is Traditional Irish Brown Soda Bread?

According to The Real Word from the Trafalgar travel company, this simple Irish classic is a staple in households throughout the country. Individuals use this delicious savory bread to mop up hearty stews and enjoy with some honey and a pot of tea.

Irish Soda Bread is also a symbol of celebration. It is baked in droves ahead of Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations everywhere.

However, this humble bread apparently began as an affordable necessity and was an achievable solution to food problems in Ireland in the 1800’s. At the time, widespread famine meant bread had to be made out of the most basic and cheapest ingredients available.

The four basic ingredients in Irish Brown Soda bread were soft wheat flour, salt, baking soda, and sour milk. Today, buttermilk is typically in use instead of sour milk.

Also, since yeast wasn’t readily available to aid the breadmaking process, they used the combination of baking soda and sour milk to act as the leavening agent causing the bread to rise. 

Since Ireland’s unique climate was only suitable to grow soft wheat, soda bread was the perfect match for the country.

Irish Brown Soda Bread Traditional

Traditional Irish Foods

One of the best things about traditional Irish food is that it is hearty and filling, perfect for satisfying hunger pangs. Some of the most popular Irish dishes include stews, casseroles, and soda bread. And of course, no meal would be complete without a pint or two of Guinness!

According to BBC “Good Food”, every family in Ireland has its own individual recipe for soda bread. These family gems turn up hand-written on notepaper typically flour-crusted and hidden in a cookbook. They are proudly passed from generation to generation.

Some in Ireland like their soda bread sweetened and add some honey, sugar, or dried fruits to the recipe. Others prefer more savory add-ins such as seeds, bran, and oats for a health boost. Some recipes even include Guinness.

However, the basic ingredients don’t really change. Bicarbonate of soda or baking soda, and buttermilk form the raising ingredients. Mixing these with the flour means the dough goes in the oven without the need for time to rise.

Pretty much everyone eats traditional Irish Soda bread sliced and spread liberally with butter. Yum!

What Makes Soda Bread Different?

Irish soda bread is unique in that it does not require yeast for leavening. The baking soda and buttermilk work together to create a light and airy loaf of bread.

In addition, Irish Soda Bread recipes are typically made with whole wheat flour, which makes it a healthier option than many other types of bread. Many recipes include raisins, currants, or other dried fruit, adding a touch of sweetness and flavor.

Traditional Irish Soda Bread Flour

According to Wikipedia, in Ireland, the flour in soda bread is typically made from common wheat. However, some soda bread recipes call for a cake or pastry flour. These flours typically have lower levels of gluten or structural protein, than bread flour.

According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, “gluten helps foods maintain their shape, acting as a glue that holds food together.” It is naturally occurring but can cause issues with those who are gluten sensitive.

Some Irish Brown Soda bread recipes replace the buttermilk with live yogurt or even stout beer. These ingredients speed up the bread-making process. Rather than taking time to rise, as yeast bread requires, the leavening action starts right away with soda bread recipes.

Various forms of soda bread are popular throughout Ireland. You can make soda bread using whole wheat flour, white flour, or both.

Of note, in Northern Ireland, the whole wheat variety is referred to as wheaten bread.  

However, the southern provinces of Ireland call the whole wheat variety brown bread which is almost identical to the wheaten variety in the north.

Soda Bread Ingredients

What are the Ingredients in this Irish Brown Soda Bread Loaf Recipe?

  • All-purpose flour
  • Whole Wheat flour
  • Baking soda or Sodium bicarbonate
  • Table salt
  • Buttermilk or sour milk
  • Regular oats — not instant oatmeal

How do you Make this Easy Traditional Soda Bread Recipe?

Of note, bakers recommend minimum mixing of the ingredients before baking. You want to mix the dough just enough to make sure the ingredients come together. However, you don’t need to knead the dough. Hurrah!

  • Preheat the oven to 425°F (215°C).  Lightly grease a baking sheet.
  • Stir together whole wheat flour, white flour, baking soda and salt.
  • Next, pour in the buttermilk and mix until a soft dough forms. Mix just until incorporated. The dough should be soft, but not too sticky.  You can dust your hands with flour if needed to handle the dough.
  • Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and shape it into a round about 1 ½ inches thick. 
  • Next, place the dough on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Score the top of the loaf with an ‘X’ about ½ inch deep.
  • Glaze the bread with the leftover bit of buttermilk and sprinkle the top with rolled oats.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Then turn down the oven to 400°F (200°C) and bake for 30 minutes more or until golden brown. When the bread is done, the loaf sounds slightly hollow when you tap on the bottom with a wooden spoon.  Use a towel to hold the loaf so you don’t burn your hands. 
  • Remove from the baking sheet and place on a wire rack to cool.
  • Serve warm with lots of good Irish butter and honey for a sweet version.
Ready to Bake Bread
Irish Brown Soda Bread Ready to Bake!

What can I Serve this Irish Wheat Bread with for Dinner?

Try this recipe for hearty Guinness Beef Stew.

You can serve the stew over creamy Mashed Potatoes with Roasted Garlic from your slow cooker.

Add a light Simple Green Salad for balance and more veggies.

And finish the meal with a small bite of sweet with Chocolate Stout Cupcakes topped with Irish Cream Frosting.

Invite Friends Over for a Hearty Serving of Irish Food

Want to make your Irish meal even more authentic? Serve up a delicious homemade bread with this Irish Brown Soda Bread recipe!

This is an easy bread recipe without yeast! It will come together in just a few simple steps and is perfect for serving with hearty dishes like stews and casseroles, or simply enjoyed on its own.

So why not give this healthy bread a try today? Invite some friends over to enjoy a hearty meal with this delicious Irish Brown Soda Bread.

Cheers Y’all!

P.S. If you try this recipe let me know how it turned out! Share your success on social media!

Irish Brown Soda Bread Traditional

Irish Brown Soda Bread

RANI
Delicious traditional Irish Brown Soda Bread. Great with soups, stews and hearty fare.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Recipes
Cuisine Irish
Servings 12 Servings
Calories 163 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 2 cups Whole Wheat flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 Tablespoons Oats not Instant

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 425°F (215°C).  Lightly grease a baking sheet.
  • In a large bowl, stir together whole wheat flour, white flour, baking soda and salt.
  • Gently mix in the buttermilk until a soft dough is formed. Mix until just combined. The dough should be soft, but not too sticky.  Dust hands with flour if needed to handle the dough.
  • Turn onto a floured work surface and work dough into a round about 1 ½ inches thick. 
  • Place on prepared baking sheet.
  • Score the loaf with an 'X' about ½ inch deep.
  • Glaze the bread with the leftover bit of buttermilk and dust the top with rolled oats.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, then turn down the oven to 400°F (200°C) and bake for 30 minutes more or until golden brown. When done, the loaf will sound slightly hollow when tapped on the bottom.  Use a towel to hold the loaf and a wooden spoon to tap it so you don’t burn your hands. 
  • Remove from the baking sheet and place on a wire rack to cool.
Keyword baking, bread, side dish

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