Thursday, March 11, 2010

Recipe for 100% Whole Wheat Brown Irish Soda Bread

This healthier Irish Soda Bread is made with 100% whole wheat and white whole wheat flour!

100% Whole Wheat Brown Soda Bread
Irish Soda Bread is one of those dishes that everyone in America associates with St. Patrick's Day, and here you'll find many variations on the recipe, even though soda bread in Ireland traditionally contains only flour, baking soda, salt, and sour milk or buttermilk. Probably we should be calling our bread Irish American Soda Bread, but no matter what you call it, this bread is easy to make and delicious.

For this version I've used a combination of white whole wheat and whole wheat flour with added wheat bran and wheat germ to make it relatively South Beach Diet friendly, although the recipe does contain a small amount of butter and brown sugar.

The fact that this is the third variation of Irish Soda Bread to show up on Kalyn's Kitchen shows how food blogging has changed my life, because when I started this blog in 2005, I'd never dreamed of making Irish Soda Bread. Then a few years ago I started hearing about it, and found out that my slightly Irish father loves it, and I've been trying a new variation ever year since. Have you ever made true Irish or Irish American Soda Bread? If so, please share your recipe or a link in the comments.

Mix together white whole wheat flour, whole wheat flour, toasted wheat bran, wheat germ, oatmeal crumbs, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt.

The recipe called for cutting the butter into tiny pieces, but my butter was frozen so I peeled the wrapped down to the 2 T mark and grated it with the large side of a grater. This worked really well.

Here's how the grated butter looked before I mixed it in with my fingers.

Pinch the butter into the flour with your fingers until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.

Measure out 2 cups of buttermilk, then add it by half cups until the mixture becomes a loose dough. (In Utah where it's very dry I used the entire 2 cups of buttermilk, but you might not need it all.)

Here's how my dough looked after the buttermilk was all mixed in.

Scrape the dough into a 9 inch x 5 inch x 3 inch loaf pan that you've sprayed with olive oil or nonstick spray. (I smoothed the top down with my fingers but later I thought that maybe I shouldn't have!)

Here's how my Brown Soda Bread looked after it baked for 43 minutes at 425F/220C. Let it cool on a rack for 10-15 minutes, then eat warm. I ate it with my favorite Brummel & Brown Natural Yogurt Spread, but if you're not a South Beach Dieter, butter would be heavenly too.

100% Whole Wheat Brown Irish Soda Bread
Makes one large loaf of brown soda bread, recipe adapted slightly from The Bon Appetit Cookbook.)

1 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
3 T toasted wheat bran
3 T toasted wheat germ
2 T oatmeal (I used oatmeal "crumbs" that has been ground in the food processor)
2 T brown sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt (I used fine grind sea salt)
2 T cold butter, either cut into small cubes or grated on the large side of a cheese grater
2 cups buttermilk (you may not need it all, but measure out 2 cups just in case)

Preheat oven to 425F/220C. Spray a 9 inch x 5 inch x 3 inch loaf pan with olive oil or nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, combine the white whole wheat flour, whole wheat flour, toasted wheat bran, toasted wheat germ, oatmeal or oatmeal crumbs, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt and mix together well.

Cut butter into small cubes or grate with the large side of a cheese grater, then add butter to the flour mixture. Wash and dry your hands, then use your fingers to pinch the butter into the flour until it's well combined and the mixture resembles coarsely ground cornmeal.

Measure out 2 cups of buttermilk. Add buttermilk to the flour/butter mixture 1/2 cup at a time, stirring after each 1/2 cup of buttermilk is added. Keep adding buttermilk until you have a loose dough. (Depending on where you live and how dry your flour is, you may not need all the buttermilk.)

Scrape the dough into the sprayed loaf pan. Bake until the bread is very brown and a toothpick inserted into the very center comes out clean, about 40-45 minutes. (I baked the bread in these photos for exactly 43 minutes.) Run a knife around the edge of the pan and tip bread out onto a cooling rack and let it cool 10-15 minutes on rack before cutting.

Irish soda bread can be eaten hot, and it also makes wonderful toast. This type of brown soda bread with a little butter in the recipe will keep a little longer than some types of Irish soda bread, but it's still best eaten the day you make it or the next day.

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South Beach Suggestions:
This recipe has a small amount of brown sugar and butter, both of which are not recommended for the South Beach Diet, but considering that the loaf of bread makes at least 10-12 slices, the amount of these ingredients in each serving is still very small. I think this could be eaten once in a while for phase 2 or 3 of the diet, and especially if you're Irish and it's St. Patrick's day!

More Versions of Irish American Soda Bread You Might Like
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Agave-Sweetened 100% Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread from Kalyn's Kitchen
White Whole Wheat and Oatmeal Irish Soda Bread from Kalyn's Kitchen
Gluten-Free Irish Soda Bread from Gluten-Free Goddess
Caraway Soda Bread from Simply Recipes
Irish Soda Bread from The Perfect Pantry
Irish Soda Bread from Andrea Meyers
Agnes O'Sullivan's Brown Bread from Tea and Cookies
Irish Soda Bread from The Nourishing Gourmet
Irish Soda Bread Muffins from Kitchen Parade
Irish Soda Bread from Lisa's Kitchen
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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More to Chew On:


  1. I love that this uses 2 cups of buttermilk! Usually I'm left with almost a whole container whenever a recipe calls for it.

    The bread looks great! Isn't it amazing the things that blogging gets us to do?

  2. I love soda bread. Can't wait to try this version!

  3. Irish soda bread was the very first bread I made when I moved into my very first apartment, way back when. I loved the fact that it didn't require yeast (working with yeast scared me!) and that it was great with soup, which was the other thing I had taught myself how to make. I still love the combination of soda bread and soup, and I must admit that I sneak raisins into my soda bread, though I know that really isn't authentic.

  4. I love your healthier version. Great for breakfast!

  5. The idea of grating the frozen butter is nothing short of brilliant. I dont use butter too often and usually keep it in the freezer and now I know how to make life alot easier.

  6. Aw gee Daryl, I love it when you call me brilliant. I have do admit, it worked like a charm.

  7. Great healthy St. Patrick's Day recipe! I've been on the look out for some festive recipes for the upcoming holiday.

  8. I'm not a SB dieter, so I have to ask -- is the Splenda Brown Sugar Blend a no-no?

    I use a recipe in the Bread Machine -- it cheats and has some yeast in it, but I also add in raisins and caraway seeds. It may not be authentic, but I never have to wrap leftovers!

  9. Splenda Brown Sugar Blend is just a mixture of equal parts Splenda and brown sugar. I think it's really overpriced when you can just mix your own.

    In this recipe, I wasn't sure how using Splenda would affect the rising of the bread, and the amount of brown sugar was minimal so that's why I just used brown sugar. (It may not matter since the bread has no yeast, but I'm not a good enough baker to know just how it would affect it.)

    If you never have leftovers, I'd say that's a good recipe! Share the link if you have blogged about it.

  10. soda bread is one of my favorites! this recipe looks tasty!

  11. I am so happy to see a whole wheat version of soda bread. I would love to perch an egg, sunnyside-up, on top of this for breakfast.

  12. Isn't everyone "slightly Irish"? Especially when it comes to soda bread. Slainte! xox

  13. I make soda bread at least once a week and have for years - so easy. I use yogurt and milk in mine - 'cause I can'g get butternilk. Works fine. Your's looks yummy.

  14. Oh I love this! I would really like to try it for a nice healthy breakfast bread for our family. I think for the whole wheat flour, I will use our favorite Kamut Khorasan Wheat flour which is incredibly healthy!

  15. I made brown soda bread with King Arthurs White Whole Wheat flour, agave syrup, and safflower oil. It was quite good, although even better when I added in some candied orange rind and candied ginger and currants. I also made a batch with soy milk (curdled with a bit of cider vinegar) and the results were nearly identical to the batches made with buttermilk.

    BTW, I don't think using Splenda would make much of a difference--there is so little sweetener in your recipe that it probably has a negligible affect on texture.

  16. Laura, good to know about the Splenda, although I wouldn't worry about this much brown sugar either. Thanks for sharing!

  17. This is the recipe that I use because it's the one my family loves...I did eat 1 slice on Thursday butI so wanted to eat more.:0)

    Irish Soda Bread

    4 cups all-purpose flour
    4 tablespoons white sugar
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 tablespoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup margarine, softened
    1 cup buttermilk
    1 egg
    1/4 cup butter, melted
    1/4 cup buttermilk
    1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a large baking sheet.
    2.In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and margarine. Stir in 1 cup of buttermilk and egg. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly. Form dough into a round and place on prepared baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine melted butter with 1/4 cup buttermilk; brush loaf with this mixture. Use a sharp knife to cut an 'X' into the top of the loaf.
    3.Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 30 to 50 minutes. You may continue to brush the loaf with the butter mixture while it bakes.

  18. Carrie, it sounds good but not very South Beach Diet friendly. (But it sounds like you already know that. No big deal for once a year though.)

  19. This is our favorite Soda Bread. The only tip I can offer is that chemically leavened breads should sit out at room temp for 30 minutes or so in the loaf pan following the mixing to allow the soda and powder to do their jobs.

  20. Hanna, I hadn't heard that, thanks for the info.


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