Irish Soda Bread

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Growing up in the Catholic church among Irish families, I have fond memories of St. Patrick's Day. In grade school, although we wore uniforms, on St. Patrick's Day we were allowed to go all out and wear green, beads, and hats. And all the green food!

I have to thank my grade school teacher Mrs. Horak, for introducing me to the traditional Irish Soda Bread. She would make it for Holy Thursday, the day of Easter Week marking the Last Supper during which Jesus traditionally shared bread and wine with his disciples. As children, we would always look forward to Thursday to grab just a morsel of this bread, and sneak the leftovers if we were lucky enough to be 8th graders. It’s funny to think back now about how many crumbs we must have left on the church pews passing those crumbly loaves around!

I made a traditional “Brown soda” or “wheaten bread” with a blend of whole wheat flour and some oatmeal. You would be surprised how quick and easy it is to prepare! There is no need to knead, and no waiting around for bread to rise. The bread is made using baking soda which becomes activated as soon as it meets the wet ingredients. It is baked immediately.

A special thanks for tips and the basic recipe from Peter Morwood and Peter's Mum's Soda Bread Recipe from the European Cuisines website.

Servings: 12


  • 4 cups whole wheat flour, sifted (480 grams)
  • 1 cup white all-purpose flour, sifted (120 grams)
  • scant ½ cup old-fashioned oats (25 g)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • scant 2 cups buttermilk
  • a few tablespoons water
  • cooking spray
  • flour for dusting baking sheet


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and dust with flour.
  2. Mix all dry ingredients in bowl and whisk gently with whisk to distribute all ingredients evenly. Make a well in the center and pour buttermilk about ½ cup at a time and incorporate gently. Do not over mix. Add a couple tablespoons of water if needed to form a cohesive dough. It's better to use less water than more, so use just enough to form a ball.
  3. Turn the dough out to a tabletop or large wooden cutting board. Form into a large ball and flatten just a bit. Make sure you work the dough only a minute or less to keep a light loaf. Cut a cross in the dough with a sharp knife, going a deep ½ inch into the dough.
  4. Place the loaf gently on the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes at 450°F. Then lower the oven temperature to 425°F and bake an additional 25 minutes or until brown on the peaks. Also, check for a hollow sound when you tap the bottom of the loaf for doneness. Let cool 20-30 minutes before breaking into quarters to avoid excessive crumbling.
  5. Serve with Irish Lamb Stew, or toast to eat with jam for tea time.

Also Appropriate for Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian diets.

nutrition facts label for Irish Soda Bread

For photographs and detailed instructions, please visit