I remember my first fresh brown bread in Ireland, during our first trip to see family in 1999. Now, more than 20 years later, we live in Ireland. This traditional Irish brown bread recipe is in constant rotation at our home in Limerick. I learned how to make Irish brown bread during a cooking class in Dingle years ago and am so glad I did. I love this quick bread recipe, it doesn’t require yeast. It’s hot and ready in just over an hour.
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Recommended kitchen products used in this recipe:
What is Irish brown bread?
There are two main types of Irish bread that people are familiar with: Irish soda bread and Irish brown bread. Traditional Irish brown bread is the darker, denser brother of the famous Irish soda bread. Although Irish soda bread can also be made with whole-grain flour, this whole-grain bread is a bit more substantial than soda bread.
Irish brown bread is heavy and dense, more so than Irish soda bread. Irish soda bread is a white bread. They both taste great with warm Irish butter. Both are staples of the Irish diet, even today.
Both of these traditional Irish breads are considered “quick breads.” One of the benefits of Irish brown bread is that it does not require yeast. That means there is no need to wait for it to rise. You can mix the whole wheat bread dough and put it in the oven.
Check out our Guide to Traditional Irish Cooking: What to Eat in Ireland
Ingredients for Buttermilk Irish Whole Wheat Bread Recipe
This bread includes many of the traditional baking ingredients, including white flour, a little salt and sugar, and baking soda. Also, ask for wholemeal flour. This is what makes it browner than soda bread. I also make my whole wheat Irish bread with oatmeal. The oatmeal gives it a nice texture and also provides a good amount of fiber to the bread.
The only wet ingredient is buttermilk, no eggs required. I love baking without eggs because it means I can bake at home even when we run out of eggs.
Looking for more Irish recipes? Take a look at our collection of the best traditional Irish dessert recipes you can make at home.
How to make irish brown bread
This is what makes this Irish Whole Wheat Bread recipe so easy to prepare. Blend all the dry ingredients. Mix in the buttermilk little by little. Form a ball and bake. So damn easy. Add enough buttermilk so that the batter has the consistency of thick porridge, but not too wet. See the photo above.
I use my 360 stainless steel bakeware, which is very high quality. For this bread, I use the pie pan from the bakeware set. You can also use a cookie sheet or cookie sheet. The bread won’t expand a ton after baking. I place the dough on parchment paper just to make it super easy to clean up.
Do you bake a lot at home? Check out our reviews of the best bakeware sets.
Bake Irish Brown Bread
Once the dough is ready, shape into a large round loaf and place on a baking sheet or baking pan lined with parchment paper and a little flour. I cut a cross in the top of the bread with a knife to add some texture. That is all.
Cooking the bread for the first 10 minutes on high heat allows a crust to form. This crust is characteristic of Irish brown bread. Lowering the heat allows time for the inside of the bread to bake completely without over-browning the crust. Let the bread cook another 40-45 minutes.
After 50-55 minutes, remove the bread and check if it’s done. If it feels thick and heavy, you probably need a little more time. If you flip it over and tap your knuckles on the bottom and it sounds a little hollow, the bread is done. Or, slide a knife into the bottom of the bread. If the knife comes out clean, the bread is ready.
Sometimes I leave the bread in the oven for another five minutes, but I turn off the heat in the oven. This gives you a few extra minutes of baking time without going overboard.
Let the bread cool and sit for about 30 minutes before serving.
Time to cook
1 hour 5 minutes
2 ½ cups whole wheat flour (whole wheat flour)
1 ½ cups plain white flour
½ cup porridge (oatmeal)
½ teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of sugar
2 teaspoons of baking soda
2 – 2 ½ cups buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Place parchment paper on a baking sheet or baking pan. Sprinkle a touch of white flour on the parchment paper.
- Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
- Using a wooden spoon, add one cup of buttermilk to the dry ingredients and mix. If the mixture is too dry, add additional buttermilk until the batter is the consistency of porridge or oatmeal.
- Form the dough into a round ball and place it on parchment paper. Using a knife, cut a cross shape across the top of the dough.
- Place the bread in the preheated oven. Cook at 400F for about 10 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 375 and bake for an additional 45 minutes. (see notes above)
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Amount per proportion:
Calories: 232Total fat: 2 gSaturated fat: 1gTrans fat: 0gUnsaturated fat: 1gCholesterol: 6mgSodium: 597mgcarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 4gSugar: 6gProtein: 11g
This nutritional data is provided by a third party source and should not be relied upon if you are following a strict diet.
Serving and Storing Homemade Irish Brown Bread
Slice and serve whole grain bread with creamy Irish butter, such as Kerrygold, which you can buy in the US. The bread goes well with jam or preserves, but it also goes well with a good Irish fry, or even bacon and eggs.
Best Bakeware for Irish Bread Recipes
For over 50 years, 360 Cookware has been manufacturing high-quality cookware and bakeware in the USA. Using high-quality, surgical-grade stainless steel, 360 Cookware definitely feels like a professional bakeware. Designed to last a lifetime, 360 includes a lifetime warranty on all of its products.
Each piece incorporates a layer of aluminum to distribute heat completely and evenly. The outer layer of stainless steel is thicker than other brands, which guarantees greater durability.
The 360 Cookware 5-Piece Bakeware Set includes two 9-inch round cake pans, one 10-inch pie pan, one 17.5 x 14.5-inch cookie sheet, and one 9 x 13-inch roasting pan. All pieces are oven safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Recognized by the EPA, 360 manufactures its products in a process that does not include harsh chemicals. Free recipes and cooking tips are available on the 360 Cookware website.
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FAQ – Traditional Irish Brown Bread
The difference between Irish soda bread and Irish brown bread is pretty straightforward. Irish soda bread has a sweeter flavor compared to the more savory Irish brown bread. Irish soda bread uses white flour while Irish wholemeal bread uses wheat flour.
Simple is always good. Irish wholemeal bread is made from two flours, wholemeal and white, along with oatmeal and buttermilk. These are the main ingredients and where the recipes vary.
Bread is an obsession in Ireland. From store-bought to homemade, the Irish love their bread. The most common breads eaten in Ireland are brown bread, Irish soda bread, and white toast bread.