Brown Bran Irish Soda Bread

I have long been obsessed with the idea of hearty, nutty wholesome breads. Dark brown crumbly loaves, best served warm with salted butter and bowl of something equally hearty and brown.

I suppose I blame it on a nerdy childhood spent sitting on the sidelines (literally) reading stories about drafty castles, wild, windy moors, and resourceful street urchins. Truly a far cry from my shiny, temperature-controlled suburban upbringing, which is perhaps why I was so fascinated.

I had these stories in mind when I developed this Irish soda bread recipe, and it's exactly what I wanted all those years ago: sturdy and a little bit crumbly, with sweetness from molasses and bran.

I love it warm with thickly spread butter.

"Tooth butter," which my friend Kristine recently explained to me is a Danish term for the correct way to spread butter--thick enough to leave teeth marks in it. (Don't you just love that?!)

If you enjoy wheat breads, I encourage you to give this one a try. It's an easy quick bread (no yeast required!) and the whole process takes just about an hour. It's a great weeknight bread!

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Brown Bran Irish Soda Bread
Makes 1 loaf

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup wheat bran (Available at Whole Foods or online at
2 tablespoons molasses
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" pieces
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper

In the base of an electric mixer, combine the flours, bran, molasses, baking soda, and salt and mix until combined. Mix in the diced butter.

In a separate container, whisk together the buttermilk and egg. While the mixer is on slow, pour in the buttermilk mixture and let mix on the lowest setting until completely combined and the dough starts to pull away from the sides. (The dough will be very sticky.)

Dust flour on a counter and turn out the dough. Knead for a few minutes and form into a loaf. Place on the prepared baking sheet and use a wet chef's knife to slash with a cross on top.

Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes. Remove and let cool slightly before transferring to a cooling rack.

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