Irish Brown Soda Bread

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This simple, wholesome bread can be eaten fresh with butter, jam or cheese and is delicious served with a bowl of home-made soup. It slices better if left to cool and "set" for at least four hours. This recipe makes one large loaf.

Preparation time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 45 mins

Serves: 4-6

Dietary guidance: v v 

Tags: soup · side · bread · irish · brown · soda ·


· 1lb / 450g coarse wholemeal flour
· 6 oz / 175g plain white flour
· 1 rounded teaspoon bread soda
· 1 teaspoon salt
· ¾ pint / 450ml buttermilk (approx.)
Homemade buttermilk =

(4 servings)

· 1 cup whole milk
· either 1 and 3/4 Tablespoons cream of tartar or 1 Tablespoon white vinegar or 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
· Add acidic ingredient (tartar, vinegar or lemon juice) to the milk and stir. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. The milk should start to curdle. Stir well before using.

A combination of plain yogurt (3/4 cup) and whole milk (1/4) cup can also be used to replace a cup of buttermilk in most recipes.


· Preheat oven to 400 °F / 200 °C / gas mark 6.
· Mix the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Stir in enough buttermilk to make fairly soft dough.
· Turn on to a work surface dusted with wholemeal flour and knead lightly until smooth underneath.
· Form into a circle, about 1 ½ " / 4cm thick, and put onto a baking sheet. Mark a deep cross in the top with a floured knife. Bake for about 45 minutes, until bread is browned and sounds hollow when tapped on the base. Cool on a wire rack, wrapped in a clean tea/dish towel to keep the crust soft.

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