Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread Recipe

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This whole wheat Irish soda bread is a fabulous bread that is easy to make with minimal steps or ingredients. It’s a great bread recipe for all you non-bread bakers out there.

My mom recently went on a trip to Ireland. She has never really gone anywhere, so this was the trip of a lifetime for her. She loved every second of it and is now talking about buying a vacation house over there.

Clean Eating Irish Soda Bread Recipe

To say she came back inspired by Irish cooking is an understatement.

The other night, she made me some Irish Soda Bread using a recipe from an Irish website she found, and I was hooked. It was straight out of the oven, and she had put a little bit of Irish butter on it to boot. Kerry butter, anyone?

The History Of Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread actually has an interesting history.

This type of bread was first create by the Native American Indians.

They were the first to be documented using pearl ash, a natural form of soda formed from the ashes of wood, to leaven their bread without yeast. 

The Irish later discovered and replicated the process. While it seems like an ancient recipe, Irish soda bread history began in the 1830’s, when baking soda, or bicarbonate soda, was first introduced to the country.

Trafalgar.com

Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread Ingredients

3 cups whole wheat pastry flour – If you can’t find this type of flour, the next best option (and far more widely available) is white whole wheat flour. Not regular white flour. Don’t confuse the two.

1 tsp. baking soda – Make sure this is new or newer baking soda. Old soda won’t do as good of a job.

½ tsp. sea salt – I used pink Himalayan salt, but use whatever fine salt you have. The only salt to avoid is a coarse salt.

1 ½ cups butter milk (plus a little extras reserved) – This is just regular buttermilk. Not low fat or flavored.

How Do You Make Irish Soda Bread From Scratch?

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.

Put the flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl and mix well with a whisk.

Make a “well” in the middle of the flour.

Pour your buttermilk into the well.

Combine slightly with a wooden spoon until it get’s too thick to continue mixing with the spoon.

Then you’ve got to get in there with your hands. Go ahead… kneading dough is the fun part of making bread!

Knead until you have a nice firm dough. If your dough is very dry and doesn’t form a nice ball, add a little extra buttermilk, 1 tablespoon at a time. Knead well before adding your next tbsp. to be sure you don’t overdo it.

Form your dough into a round disk that is approximately 1 ½ inches in thickness. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet or pizza pan.

Score your bread with a sharp knife. I cut mine a little deep which is why the bread separated as much as it did in the top photo. But no matter how deep you do or don’t cut it, it will bake well. The idea is to cut it so that you can easily break it into quarters when it’s done.

Bake it in the oven at 450 F. for 15 minute, then reduce the heat to 400 degrees F. and continue baking for 25-30 minutes. If your bread starts to look to brown, loosely place a piece of aluminum foil over the top of it.

Once it’s cooled, store it in a plastic bag. But ya… um… it just didn’t last long enough around here for me to store it. In fact, I cut into it immediately and burned my finger. But man… was that burn worth it!

How To Store Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread dries out quickly. So always keep it wrapped with plastic wrap, in zipper top bag or in some other type of air-tight container. Fresh soda bread will last about 3-4 days. Keep it in the fridge to be safe.

Can You Freeze Irish Soda Bread?

If you wrap it very well, you can freeze Irish soda bread for up to 3 months.

How To Serve Irish Soda Bread

If it’s been frozen, let it sit on the counter overnight to thaw. Beyond that, slice and serve as:

More Whole Grain Bread Recipes

Copyright Information For The Gracious Pantry

Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread Recipe

Clean Eating Irish Soda Bread Recipe

Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread Recipe

A delicious, homemade bread made with 100% whole wheat flour.
Print Pin Rate
Course: Breakfast, Side Dish
Cuisine: Irish
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 1 loaf
Calories: 1447kcal
Author: The Gracious Pantry

Ingredients

  • 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • 1 ½ cups butter milk (plus a little extras reserved)

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.
  • Put the flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl and mix well with a whisk.
  • Make a “well” in the middle of the flour.
  • Pour your buttermilk into the well.
  • Combine slightly with a wooden spoon until it get’s too thick to continue mixing with the spoon.
  • Then you’ve got to get in there with your hands. Go ahead… kneading dough is the fun part of making bread!
  • Knead until you have a nice firm dough. If your dough is very dry and doesn’t form a nice ball, add a little extra buttermilk, 1 tablespoon at a time. Knead well before adding your next tbsp. to be sure you don’t overdo it.
  • Form your dough into a round disk that is approximately 1 ½ inches in thickness. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet or pizza pan.
  • Score your bread with a sharp knife. I cut mine a little deep which is why the bread separated as much as it did in the top photo. But no matter how deep you do or don’t cut it, it will bake well. The idea is to cut it so that you can easily break it into quarters when it’s done.
  • Bake it in the oven at 450 F. for 15 minute, then reduce the heat to 400 degrees F. and continue baking for 25-30 minutes. If your bread starts to look to brown, loosely place a piece of aluminum foil over the top of it.
  • Once it's cooled, store it in a plastic bag. But ya… um… it just didn't last long enough around here for me to store it.

Notes

Please note that the nutrition data below is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible. This data is for the entire loaf. Simply divide the data by the number of slices you get from your loaf for a per-slice count.

Nutrition

Serving: 1entire loaf | Calories: 1447kcal | Carbohydrates: 276g | Protein: 59g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 39mg | Sodium: 2688mg | Potassium: 1792mg | Fiber: 38g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 595IU | Calcium: 536mg | Iron: 13mg

This recipe from the Gracious Pantry archives, originally posted 6/14/10.

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47 Comments

  1. i might have to try that this week!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Carrie,

      Let me know how it turns out for you!

  2. No raisins? I’m going to try your recipe though and resist the urge to add raisins.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Ashlye,

      Sorry, no raisins. According to my sources, true Irish Soda Bread contains nothing but the ingredients listed. People have added stuff to the recipes over time.

      If you like it with raisins, go ahead and add them. I can’t imagine it would hurt the recipe at all.

  3. I must try this, it sounds fabulous! And so easy to make!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Megan,

      Ya, it’s so yummy and so easy to make! Let me know how you like it!

  4. Yum!!!
    This is on my “To Do” list for the weekend. Thank you for always sharing such awesome recipes!!!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Let me know how you like it Jane. It’s soooo yummy! Just be sure to put it in a ziploc bag as soon as it’s cool. It turns rock hard in a few hours if it’s left out. I learned that the hard way! lol

  5. I’ve been looking for a n irish soda bread recipe that calls for whole wheat flour! Thanks!

    I went to Ireland a couple years ago and fell in love with their soda bread. I even bought a whole loaf and took it home with me, haha!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Karen – My mother was just there a couple of months ago. She felt the same way. LOVED the food over there. Especially the soda bread!
      This recipe is pretty authentic, so hopefully, it’ll take you back.

      Enjoy!

  6. I just made this. It’s good stuff! One question though….is it supposed to be really “crisp” on the outside?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Jill, the longer it’s exposed to air, the crisper the outside gets. Try putting it into a ziploc bag as soon as it cools completely.

  7. I saw a cooking show on the cooking network that showed people making irish soda bread with all sorts of herbs and/or berries in it too… I have always wanted to make bread and this seems like a great and easy recipe! I am researching clean eating and getting ready to make the switch so I wanted to thank you for your blog it is great and very informative!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Andrea – Thank you! I’m so happy to have you as a reader! Irish soda bread is fantastic stuff! The classic version has nothing in it, but you could certainly add all kinds of things! Such a fun experiment!

  8. trude wofford says:

    I think I’ll be making this with some kind of cabbage and potatos for dinner tonight ( maybe bubble and squeek?) Thanks for the recipe Tiffany, it looks wonderful

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Trude – Oh that should be good! Let me know how you like it!

  9. Would you happen to have the recipe for the Irish butter??? HaHa…Thank you

    1. Anonymous says:

      Kristi – Ha! Oh, how I wish!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Lawoman – Awwww, I hope you both have fun. Soda bread is different than most bread we’re used to here in the states, but I just adore it. I hope you do too!

  11. graciouspantry says:

    DBBuckley – Okay. #1, I’m totally jealous. I would LOVE to go there! #2, brown bread ice cream? I don’t even know what brown bread is, aside from whole wheat bread. Do you have a recipe to share? Sounds incredible!

  12. graciouspantry says:

    Aawelton – I’ve heard of that. But I was under the impression that that is called something else. That it’s not the traditional version. Sounds wonderful though!

  13. graciouspantry says:

    Kara – That sounds wonderful!

  14. Marina Desirée says:

    Thanks for this website, I just recently decided to eat clean and am learning tons of things from your blog. The only problem is that I live in Germany and can’t find whole wheat pastry flour. It just doesn’t exist here. Should I use whole wheat gluten free flour instead? I really don’t know what else I could use. Thanks in advance!

    1. graciouspantry says:

      Marina – You can use regular whole wheat flour, just know that you will get a more dense and “bready” result.

  15. Can you make this gluten free?

    1. graciouspantry says:

      No idea. I’ve never tried. Sorry! You might try Elana’s Pantry or the Gluten Free Goddess. They might have that information.

  16. A friend just reminded me of Irish Soda Bread – tis the season! A weakness! So I immediately came here and lo and behold! Trying this ASAP!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Haha! Hope you enjoy it!

  17. Is there a substition for buttermilk?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      You can use a different milk and add a bit of vinegar to it. You’ll want to google the exact amounts though. I’ve never done it myself.

  18. Ally @ Om Nom Ally says:

    Mmmm I love soda bread, who would think that something so simple would be so delicious!

  19. Would white whole wheat flour work? Or something you can add to regular whole wheat flour that will get the same consistency (not so dense)?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Yes, white WWF should work.

  20. Thanks a ton for the help you are giving all of us clean-eating newbies! I need a little more of that help with this recipe….

    I used exactly the same ingredients and amounts and ended up with a really sticky dough and a super-dense bread. What could I have done wrong?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      What type of flour did you use?

  21. Arlene mullen says:

    Forgot to make bread early this morning and found this recipe! Going to use it to make pb sandwiches for my boys!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Arlene – I hope you all enjoy it!

  22. Hi,

    I am just curious if you know whether the buttermilk could be substituted with Kefir? I have never seen buttermilk in stores but it sounds like it might be quite similar.

    This break looks great, I would love to give it a try 🙂
    Thanks

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Danny – It’s not quite the same thing, but I think it should work about the same way. It should be fine. Let me know how it turns out!

  23. Lori Hahn says:

    Do you think you could sub plain Greek yogurt for the buttermilk?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Lori – Maybe if you add a little milk to make it more liquid…

  24. Hi,
    I am new to clean eating and find you’re website so easy and helpful! Thank you so much!

    I wanted to know, if i cut this recipe in half would my bake times be the same? How do i know when bread is ready to be taken out of the oven?

    Thank you!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Newbie – I’ve never tried, so I’m not positive. I would start checking at the 15 minute mark. Poke a knife in and see if it comes out clean. The first round will have to be a trial run.

  25. Full of Questions says:

    I am new to clean eating. I have only been doing it a couple of months and am still learning. I am confused – I thought one of the things NOT to eat was whole wheat flour. The only flour I have used is coconut flour. I love your site – it is full of delicious things to try.
    Thanks for you help!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Full of Questions – Clean eating is about avoiding processed foods. I think you may be confusing things with Paleo or Gluten Free eating. Any whole grain is fine for clean eating. So you can have brown rice, but not white. You can have whole wheat flour, but not white flour. Here’s a further explanation of the different flours: https://www.thegraciouspantry.com/clean-eating-flour/

  26. Full of Questions says:

    Thanks for you help! Yes – I was confused. 🙂

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Full of Questions – My pleasure!

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