irish dark soda bread

My boyfriend, John, is Irish. Sadly, he is not in touch with his Irish heritage at all. He doesn’t even celebrate St. Patrick’s Day! Armed with an old recipe I found at my Grandma’s house, I made my first attempt at trying to reconnect John with his roots.

This recipe yields 2 loaves and I am told they are very authentic tasting. The loaves had hard crusts, but fairly soft centers, and were pretty weighty. I would liken their flavor to that of a soft pretzel and personally found it very pleasant. Sadly, John did not feel the same. He is a very picky eater. Soda bread may be an acquired taste, but I enjoyed it, and think that this recipe is nice. If you know any REAL Irish people, or need ideas for St. Patrick’s Day next year, these loaves are super simple to make and gorgeous:] I am not giving up on John after one recipe though, so stay tuned!


3 cups all purpose flour
2 1/4 cups buttermilk (or milk with a few drops of vinegar in it)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda


First, add all the dry ingredients together, making sure to break up all the brown sugar clumps. Add the buttermilk and stir until everything is combined. Then, knead the dough for a couple minutes. This dough should be ready fairly quickly. Divide the dough in half and spin each half, while patting them into round loaves. When you have 2 round loaves, lightly score an x on each loaf. If you score them too deeply your loaves will split and will not be as attractive. Preheat your oven to 400° and let your loaves set for 10 minutes. Bake your loaves on the center rack of your oven for 40 minutes. I baked my loaves directly on my pizza stone. If you do not have a pizza stone, a parchment lined sheet will do the trick. Serve immediately or store immediately, because these loaves tend to harden if you set them out.

21 thoughts on “irish dark soda bread

  1. Your bread looks absolutely fantastic! It’s an interesting thing about soda bread, people seem to either love it or hate it. Personally, I’m with you, I think it’s great, I like the dense texture and find it very satisfying. Your recipe looks nice and easy, I should try making it some time, I think I would love it.

    • Haha! That is why I recommend eating or storing the bread immediately, the bread hardens within an hour or so otherwise. When it was fresh, I really liked it. It was dense, but moist. This is not a bread I would keep around very long though.

      • Maybe that was my problem, but the door stop worked well. My husband’s first hint that the baking episode did not go well as he is greeted by the bread holding the front door in place. Take care, BAM

  2. I make a bread almost identical to this except the recipe calls for cutting butter into the flour. I love the earthy flavor, and buttermilk is IT in my opinion. These turned out beautifully! Perhaps you could persuade John to eat corned beef & cabbage?

    • Putting in butter would definitely make the recipe more moist and fluffy:] This recipe is supposed to be super authentic though. I thought it would be like feeding an elephant peanuts, that the Irish in him would jump with joy. Not so lol. I should try that next for sure…only issue is he is a brat and does not eat veggies:/

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