Wholesome and Hearty Irish Brown Bread Recipe

Are you looking to impress your guests with a delicious and traditional Irish recipe? Look no further than this Irish Brown Bread recipe! Made with wholesome ingredients like whole wheat flour, oats, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, and buttermilk, this bread is sure to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters.

This recipe is both simple and versatile, making it a perfect addition to any meal. Whether you enjoy it on its own, toasted with some butter or jam, or paired with a hearty soup or stew, this brown bread is the ultimate comfort food.

As an ode to traditional Irish baking, this recipe uses baking soda and buttermilk instead of yeast for a quick bread that’s easy to whip up in no time. So grab your apron and start baking – I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Irish Brown Bread
Irish Brown Bread

As a chef specializing in British cuisine, I believe that the Irish Brown Bread recipe is a must-try for anyone who desires to experience traditional Irish baking.

Irish Brown Bread is a type of soda bread made with a simple combination of whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, buttermilk, baking soda, and salt. Its unique character comes from the dark brown sugar, wheat germ, and rolled oats that give it a rustic feel and add beautiful texture to the bread. This recipe is also versatile with substitutions and variations as well.

What makes this bread special is its distinctive nuttiness and moistness that comes from the sunflower seeds added to the dough. The bread has a crispy crust which contrasts nicely with the soft interior. As you bite into it, you will savor the rich, deep flavors of the ingredients mixed together to make this bread recipe.

Furthermore, Irish Brown Bread is quick and easy to bake. Unlike yeast-raised bread that can take hours to rise before baking, this bread is ready in under an hour. It is perfect for those who want to make fresh homemade bread quickly without compromising on taste, texture or quality. You don’t even need any fancy equipment – just some mixing bowls and a loaf pan.

Whether you’re looking for a hearty breakfast or a rustic complement to your meal, Irish Brown Bread makes an excellent addition to your table. With its warm flavors and comforting aroma, this bread has won hearts across Ireland and the world.

So what are you waiting for? Give this delightful recipe a try today and experience authentic Irish baking at its finest!

Ingredient List

 A rustic loaf of Irish brown bread, perfect for breakfast or as a snack.
A rustic loaf of Irish brown bread, perfect for breakfast or as a snack.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make this delectable Irish Brown Bread recipe:
– 4 cups whole wheat flour
– 1 cup all-purpose flour
– 1 cup rolled oats
– 3/4 cup wheat germ
– 3/4 cup sunflower seeds
– 1 tsp salt
– 2 tsp baking soda
– 3 tbsp brown sugar
– 2 cups buttermilk
– 2 tbsp butter, melted

This bread is made with a simple combination of whole grain flours including whole wheat and all-purpose flour. It also includes rolled oats and wheat germ, which add a delicious nutty flavor and texture. Sunflower seeds give it an extra crunch that you’ll love! The recipe ingredients also involve a leavening agent in the form of baking soda, which makes it a quick bread (no yeast needed). The bread is enriched with buttermilk that gives it a slightly tangy taste while also keeping it moist. Finally, brown sugar is added to enhance the sweetness and butter lends an irresistible richness to this traditional Irish brown bread recipe.

The Recipe How-To

 The hearty texture of this Irish brown bread pairs perfectly with a warm bowl of soup or stew.
The hearty texture of this Irish brown bread pairs perfectly with a warm bowl of soup or stew.

Now that we have gone through the ingredient list, it’s time to get baking! The Irish Brown Bread Recipe is a simple yet delicious bread recipe that can be prepared easily in your kitchen. Here are the steps to make this traditional Irish brown bread.


  • 4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp wheat germ
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds (optional)

Step 1: Preheat the Oven

Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C), and lightly grease a 9-inch loaf pan.

Step 2: Mix the Dry Ingredients

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, rolled oats, salt, baking soda, brown sugar, and wheat germ until combined.

Step 3: Add the Wet Ingredients

Next, add buttermilk and melted butter to the dry mixture. Stir until well combined.

Step 4: Add Sunflower Seeds (Optional)

If desired, stir in the sunflower seeds to add some crunchiness to your bread.

Step 5: Knead the Dough

Transfer your dough onto a floured surface and knead it lightly. Shape into a smooth round ball and put it into your prepared loaf pan.

Step 6: Score the Dough

Using a sharp knife or scissors, make a deep cross on the top of your dough. This is done to allow the heat to penetrate evenly while baking.

Step 7: Bake!

Bake in preheated oven for approximately 40-50 minutes, or until the bread sounds hollow when tapped lightly on the bottom.

Step 8: Cool It Down

Remove your bread from the oven and let it cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Now that you know how to make an Irish Brown Bread, be sure to save the recipe and give it a try! The bread can be served with Guinness or any favorite jam, cheese, or dip.

Substitutions and Variations

 Freshly baked Irish brown bread, straight out of the oven and ready to be sliced up for serving.
Freshly baked Irish brown bread, straight out of the oven and ready to be sliced up for serving.

Are you looking to add some personal flare to your traditional Irish Brown Bread recipe? There are numerous substitutions and variations to choose from!

For a nuttier taste and texture, try adding one cup of chopped sunflower seeds to the mix. This will give your bread a delicious crunch and a subtle hint of nuttiness.

Looking to bump up the fiber content? Replace 1-2 cups of all-purpose flour with whole grain wheat flour or wheat germ. You can also toss in a handful of rolled oats for an extra dose of heart-healthy fiber.

If you’re feeling adventurous, try making this recipe with Guinness instead of buttermilk! This Irish variation adds a slightly bitter flavor profile that complements the sweetness of the dark brown sugar. Just be aware – the consistency will be denser, and the bread may rise less than with traditional buttermilk.

For a buttermilk alternative, you can use milk mixed with just two tablespoons of white vinegar or lemon juice as a sourdough starter. This will substitute for traditional Irish buttermilk, giving your bread a tangy kick.

Lastly, if you prefer your brown bread on the sweeter side, try swapping out the dark brown sugar for honey or maple syrup. The sweetness will complement well with the nuttiness from any added sunflower seeds.

Remember – there’s no right or wrong way to make Irish Brown Bread, so don’t be afraid to experiment with various substitutions and variations. Have fun in the kitchen and enjoy creating your perfect loaf!

Serving and Pairing

 Thickly sliced Irish brown bread, with its nutty flavor and crunchy crust, makes the ultimate sandwich bread.
Thickly sliced Irish brown bread, with its nutty flavor and crunchy crust, makes the ultimate sandwich bread.

When it comes to serving and pairing this delicious Irish Brown Bread, there are a few things to consider. First and foremost, it’s important to keep in mind that this bread is hearty, dense, and full of whole grains, so you want to pair it with something that can stand up to its robust flavor and texture.

One classic serving suggestion for Irish Brown Bread is simply slathered with butter and served alongside a warm bowl of soup or stew. Whether you prefer a savory vegetable soup, a beefy Guinness stew (a true Irish classic), or a comforting bowl of chicken noodle soup, the hearty texture of the bread will complement these dishes perfectly.

For those who want something a bit more substantial, consider making an open-faced sandwich with your favorite deli meat or cheese. The nutty flavor of sunflower seeds and wheat germ pairs well with salty cuts of ham or turkey, while a slice of sharp cheddar makes for an indulgent treat.

Another option is to serve it as part of a brunch spread alongside scrambled eggs or omelets. Toasted slices of Irish Brown Bread make for the perfect base for eggs Benedict or can be used as a vessel for toppings like creamy avocado or smoked salmon.

And let’s not forget about the perfect beverage pairing: nothing goes better with a slice of Irish Brown Bread than a piping hot cup of tea. Try a strong black tea with milk and sugar for an authentic Irish experience.

No matter how you choose to serve it, this traditional Irish Brown Bread is sure to impress with its rich flavor and satisfying texture.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 This traditional Irish brown bread recipe has been passed down for generations, and it's easy to see why.
This traditional Irish brown bread recipe has been passed down for generations, and it’s easy to see why.

Irish Brown Bread is the perfect bread to make ahead, store, and reheat. It does not go stale as quickly as other bread and can be kept fresh for a few days without being refrigerated. In fact, many people prefer it slightly stale as it develops a chewier texture.

To make Irish Brown Bread ahead of time, simply bake it as directed in the recipe instructions. Once cooled, wrap it tightly in parchment paper or plastic wrap and store it in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. It can also be frozen for up to 3 months.

Reheating Irish Brown Bread is easy and there are several ways to do it. To reheat individual slices, you can use a toaster or toaster oven. For whole loaves, it’s best to wrap the bread in foil and heat in a preheated oven at 350°F for about 10-15 minutes until heated through.

If you are using leftover Irish Brown Bread in a recipe that calls for breadcrumbs, dice the bread into small cubes and allow them to dry out on a baking sheet overnight. You can then place them in an airtight container and store them at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Remember that Irish Brown Bread tastes great on its own or served with butter, jam, honey, or with soups and stews. It also pairs well with traditional Irish dishes like corned beef, lamb stew or Guinness beef stew – all of which are hearty and perfect for the colder months.

In summary, making Irish Brown Bread ahead of time is easy and convenient. Follow these tips and you’ll always have fresh delicious bread on hand whenever you need it!

Tips for Perfect Results

 A pat of butter on a warm slice of Irish brown bread is the ultimate comfort food.
A pat of butter on a warm slice of Irish brown bread is the ultimate comfort food.

Making Irish Brown Bread can be quite easy, but like all baking, there are still some key tips to ensure the perfect result every time. Here are a few tips that will help make your bread turn out deliciously every time:

1. Don’t Overmix

When working with quick bread recipes like Irish Brown Bread, resist the urge to mix too much. Overmixing can result in a tough, dense bread. Once your dry ingredients and wet ingredients have been combined, mix only until everything is just combined.

2. Use a Light Hand when Kneading

While it is important to knead your dough to develop gluten, try to maintain a light touch while doing so. Using too much pressure can cause your bread to be too dense and heavy.

3. Use Fresh Baking Powder and Baking Soda

Be sure to check the expiration date of both your baking powder and baking soda before getting started. Expired leavening agents will not work properly and can result in a flat or dense bread.

4. Let the Bread Cool Completely

Resist the urge to slice into your Irish Brown Bread when it is still hot from the oven. Allowing the bread to cool completely ensures that it retains its shape and moisture.

5. Serve with Fresh Butter and Honey

While Irish Brown Bread is delicious on its own, it is even better served warm with a dollop of fresh butter and honey. The simple sweetness of the honey pairs perfectly with the nuttiness of the bread.

By following these simple tips, you’ll have deliciously perfect Irish Brown Bread every time!


As you venture into making this traditional Irish Brown Bread, you might encounter some questions and doubts about the recipe. In this FAQ section, I will address some of the common inquiries that might arise while making this delectable bread. So, let’s move forward and find answers to all of your questions!

What is Irish brown bread made of?

Irish brown bread is made with a basic mix of whole wheat and white flours, salt, baking soda, and buttermilk. However, this recipe enhances the bread’s flavor by adding sugar and butter (or oil) to give it a softer, sweeter texture.

What makes Irish bread different?

The exceptional consistency of this bread is attained through a process involving acid and baking soda that leads to the generation of minute pockets of carbon dioxide within the dough.

What is the most popular bread in Ireland?

When it comes to classic Irish bread, none is quite as well-known or well-loved as Irish wheaten, which is also known as brown bread. This type of bread is a staple in households all across the island, and for good reason: it’s versatile enough to accompany many different dishes, and its delicious flavor is hard to resist.

Is Irish brown bread good for you?

Absolutely! Bread can actually be very healthy, especially if you opt for whole grain varieties. Unlike bread made with “degerminated” wheat, whole grain bread is packed with essential vitamins and nutrients, as well as fiber to keep you feeling satisfied. For this recipe, we’ll be making a quick bread using 100% whole grains.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, if you’re looking for a bread recipe that is both delicious and healthy, then this Irish Brown Bread Recipe is worth trying. Packed with sunflower seeds, wheat germ, oats, and whole wheat flour, this loaf is a whole grain bread that will keep you satisfied throughout the day.

Making this traditional Irish brown bread at home is easy and quick. You don’t have to worry about yeast or rising time since it’s a quick bread recipe. Plus, it’s perfect for serving with hearty stews, soups, or as a side for breakfast or tea time.

Remember to mix the ingredients quickly and lightly to keep the bread tender and moist. Also, don’t be afraid to experiment with substitutions and variations- add Guinness beer or try the buttermilk version with a bit of white flour.

Moreover, you can make extra loaves easily and store them in an airtight container to save time. Reheat in the oven or toaster oven for a crispy crust and warm interior that rivals freshly baked bread.

In summary, this Irish Brown Bread Recipe is a must-try for any bread lover who enjoys a wholesome loaf with Irish roots. It’s perfect for any occasion- from weekday dinners to parties or brunches- and pairs well with a variety of dishes. So head into your kitchen and make it today- you won’t regret it!

Irish Brown Bread

Irish Brown Bread Recipe

This is delicious and healthy brown bread. I make at least 2 times a week. Another great recipe which doesn't require eggs and molasses (treacle)and if you don't have buttermilk just make your own. Simply add 1 tbsp. of lemon juice to a 1 cup of milk. Rest of the ingredients you have probably in pantry.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Irish
Keyword < 60 Mins, Breads, Easy, Egg-free, Free Of..., Healthy, Quick Breads
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings 1 loaf
Calories 219.1kcal


  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons oats
  • 3 tablespoons wheat germ
  • 3 tablespoons wheat bran
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds (optional)


  • Preheat oven to 400°F Butter 25cm (10inch) long loaf pan.
  • In a large bowl combine first 8 ingredients and mix well with wooden spoon.
  • Add butter and buttermilk to a dry mixture and stir just to combine all together.
  • The dough will be very soft and sticky.
  • Don't over mix.
  • Transfer dough to prepared loaf pan.
  • Bake until bread is light brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean about 40 minutes.
  • Turn bread out of pan and cool on rack.


Serving: 107g | Calories: 219.1kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 7.7g | Fat: 3.9g | Saturated Fat: 1.9g | Cholesterol: 8.1mg | Sodium: 432.1mg | Fiber: 3.8g | Sugar: 5.2g

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