Irish Brown Bread on a board

2 Fabulous Irish Brown Bread Recipes

I adore Irish food. I think I've probably said that many (many) times over the years both on this website and in my podcast.

And if I had to choose the one item I eat daily- multiple times if I can- it's the Brown Bread.

This quick, hearty bread is perfect with eggs and black pudding for breakfast, layered open face with smoked salmon and Irish cheese at lunch, served warm with creamy Kerrygold at tea time, or as a side with Irish beef stew for dinner.

Smoked Salmon on Brown Bread; Kinnity Castle, County Offaly, Ireland
Smoked salmon atop buttered brown bread

Is Irish Brown Bread also Soda Bread?

Though neither bread uses yeast to rise, instead relying on the chemical reaction created by buttermilk and baking soda, Irish brown bread and soda bread are different.

Irish soda bread is sweeter, often pebbled with raisins or sultanas, and made only with white flour.

Brown bread is darker, a bit nuttier in flavor, and also uses whole wheat flour, as well as wheat germ and often other grains.

Two Irish Brown Bread Recipes

Below you will find two of my favorite recipes. The first is a more refined loaf, pan baked. The second loaf is a more rustic, traditional round loaf.

Irish Brown Bread (pan loaf)

This quick, hearty bread is perfect with any meal – or even on its own with a layer of creamy Kerrygold spread on top.
Keyword brown bread, Irish food
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 1 loaf
Calories 277kcal
Author Jody Halsted


  • 1 3/4 c all purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 c whole wheat flour
  • 3 T toasted what bran
  • 3 T toasted wheat germ
  • 2 T toasted old fashioned oats
  • 2 T dark brown sugar packed
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 2 T 1/4 stick chilled unsalted butter,cut into pieces
  • 2 c buttermilk use a bit more if the mix is dry
  • 2 T molasses or honey OPTIONAL
  • 1-2 T toasted sunflower seeds or pepitas pumpkin seeds OPTIONAL


  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Butter a 9x5x3 loaf pan.
  • Combine first 8 ingredients (through the salt) in a large bowl; mix well.
  • Add butter pieces; rub in with fingertips until mixture resembles a fine meal.
  • Whisk together molasses and buttermilk.
  • Stir in enough buttermilk mixture to form a soft dough. Sprinkle in seeds, leaving a few for the top of the loaf.
  • Transfer to prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle on remaining seeds, if desired.
  • Bake until bread is dark brown and tester inserted in center comes out clean- about 40 minutes.
  • Cool out of pan, right side up on rack.


While you can use a powdered buttermilk, this recipe really is better with fresh.

Irish Brown Bread (Traditional Round Loaf)

A rustic round loaf of Irish brown bread is the perfect partner to any meal!
Keyword brown bread, irish brown bread, Irish food
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 15 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 1 loaf
Calories 157kcal


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup quick oats
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 3/4 cups buttermilk
  • 2 T tbsp honey or molasses


  • Heat oven to 425°F.
  • Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray or use parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, mix flours, oats, wheat germ, baking soda and salt.
  • Whisk together buttermilk and honey. Add to flour mixture; stir to combine until soft dough forms.
  • Turn dough out onto floured surface. Divide in half.
  • Shape each half into a round loaf. Place loaves 3 in. apart onto prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake 10 minutes.
  • Reduce temperature to 400°F. Continue baking 10 minutes longer or until bread sounds hollow when tapped.
  • Let cool 15 minutes.


Delicious served warm with Kerrygold and honey!
Jody Halsted
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