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Granny’s Traditional Irish Brown Soda Bread Recipe

Granny’s Traditional Irish Brown Soda Bread Recipe

Irish soda bread has a dense crumb and rough crust. It is an easy-to-make and healthy bread.

In Ireland, we are fortunate to produce some of the best food products in the world, including butter, eggs, oats, and more.

For added flavour, some recipes include caraway seeds, raisins, or dried currants. Traditional Irish brown soda bread is not sweet, perfect when accompanied with butter and jam at breakfast or for a mid-morning snack.

Soda bread is best when eaten on the day it’s baked.

Why use buttermilk?

Buttermilk is a must for traditional soda bread recipes. Buttermilk chemically reacts with baking soda to make the bread rise. The buttermilk adds a lovely flavour to the bread. Don’t worry about tasting the acid buttermilk, once it’s baked you can’t taste it!

Family recipes

Soda bread was first made in Ireland in the late 18th century - when sodium carbonate (a precursor to today’s sodium bicarbonate or baking soda) was first produced in 1791 by French man Nicolas Leblanc. Following the arrival of baking soda, soda bread began to grow in popularity.

Family variations of soda bread recipes have lasted through the decades since, ask an Irish grandparent to share their brown soda bread recipe, and don’t be surprised to be met with a resounding no!

One of our team members Margaret has kindly shared her recipe with us – we can attest that it is delicious, and we are certain you will like it too.


  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon. bread soda, seived
  • 1 teaspoon. honey
  • 1 teaspoon. salt
  • 200g plain white flour
  • 250g wholemeal flour
  • 350ml buttermilk, approx

Optional topping:

  • 1 tablespoon. sesame seeds or pinhead porridge oats


  • Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6, 200°C (400°F).
  • Mix the flour, bread soda and salt together in a bowl.
  • Combine the egg with the buttermilk and honey then mix into the flour. Add a little more buttermilk if the mixture is dry – it should be a soft dough.
  • Pour the dough into a lightly oiled loaf tin. Sprinkle the sesame seeds or porridge oats over the top of the loaf if using.
  • Bake for 45-50 minutes. To know when it is cooked simply tap the bottom of the loaf – it will sound hollow when it is fully cooked.
  • Remove from the tin and wrap in a clean tea towel while cooling. This will keep the crust soft.

Do you have any special memories of making soda bread? Any variations to try? We’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below or get in touch through social media, email, or phone.

View our range of traditional aprons and oven gloves to enjoy a mess-free and safe cooking experience. Click here to browse

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