Irish Brown Bread

The inspiration for this slightly sweet, craggy, "everyday" Irish brown bread recipe comes from customer Fred B. Dugan. Traditional Irish brown bread is a simple combination of whole wheat and white flours, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk; this version adds a bit of enrichment in the form of sugar and butter (or oil).

15 mins
40 mins
55 mins
1 large round loaf, 10" to 12" in diameter
Irish Brown Bread


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet, or line it with parchment.

  2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder.

  3. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk and the oil or butter. Stir together until blended — some lumps will remain.

  4. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead about 10 times, or until it all holds together.

  5. Form the dough into a large ball and place it on the prepared baking sheet. Cut a deep cross in the top.

  6. Bake the bread for approximately 40 minutes, or until it tests done (a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center will come out clean).

  7. Remove the bread from the oven, and cool it on a rack. Enjoy warm or at room temperature. Serve with sweet butter and a dollop of marmalade, if desired.

  8. Store, well-wrapped, for a couple of days at room temperature; freeze for longer storage.

Tips from our Bakers

  • Whole wheat pastry flour will make a moist loaf with fine crumb; Irish-Style Flour, a more traditional open-textured, drier loaf.