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Brown Soda Bread

Brown Soda Bread

Over the last few years, I’ve been looking for a new soda bread or another Irish bread recipe for St. Patrick’s Day.

This year I adapted a bread recipe from the terrific book Forgotten Skills of Cooking by Darina Allen. She describes this bread as a contemporary version. The main ingredient there (besides the baking soda, of course) is a stone ground whole wheat flour which gives the loaf its dark color and slightly nutty flavor.

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We don’t expect airiness and lightness in the Irish soda bread. It is dense and hardly suitable for sandwiches. But if you dip a piece of this bread into the Dublin Coddle sauce or in the Irish stew, spread a good butter (Irish, of course) and / or orange marmalade or lemon curd on a slice of bread – you will get exactly what this bread is made for. I also like brown soda bread with scrambled, sunny-side-up or poached eggs. Bread is well kept for a few days and is very good when toasted. So a cup of coffee or tea with nutty brown soda bread and tasty butter or yummy marmalade is a small morning pleasure.

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I’ve made some changes to the recipe:  next time I will make a slit on top of the bread (before baking) – this will help to get a nicely shaped and more beautiful loaf. I’ve also added some crushed coriander, which gave the bread a pleasant aroma.

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Brown Soda Bread


9” x 5” loaf


  • 3 1/3 cups stone ground whole wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp honey, molasses or brown sugar
  • 1 2/3 cups buttermilk or more as needed (I used about 2 ¼ cup)
  • Sunflower seeds, sesame seeds or crushed coriander




Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C).

Generously brush the loaf pan with oil.

In a large bowl mix the flour, sifted baking soda and salt.

Add the egg.

Add the buttermilk, honey (molasses, brown sugar) and oil. Mix well adding more buttermilk, if necessary. The dough should be soft and slightly sticky.

Put the dough in the loaf form; with a sharp knife make a longwise slit in a center of the loaf. Sprinkle the bread with sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and coriander.  OR You can make a round shape loaf as in the Cranberry Soda Bread recipe.

Bake the bread for about 45-60 minutes until it is golden and a wooden skewer comes out clean from the center of the loaf.

Cool the bread on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Cook with pleasure!


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