Baking & Pastries/ Breakfast/ Dinner/ European recipes/ Lunch/ Side Dishes

Irish Whole Wheat Soda Bread

7 September 2022

When we were in Ireland we had soda bread in pretty much every B&B we stayed at. Homemade, freshly baked, deep intense favour, sturdy, crumbly and amazing with a good slather of salted butter and a dollop of jam. And above all: everybody has their own recipe, we never had the same soda bread. 

I’d already heard it was a simple recipe but I didn’t realise it was THAT simple. It literally takes 5 minutes to whip together and then placed in the oven for 50 minutes. That’s it! I’ll definitely be making this again. 

Irish Whole Wheat Soda Bread

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Dinner, lunch, breakfast, sides Irish
By Saffron Serves: 6-8
Prep Time: 5 minutes Cooking Time: 50 minutes Total Time: 55 minutes + resting time


  • 4 cups (500g) whole wheat flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp (30 g) cold butter
  • 2 cups buttermilk (see notes)
  • Flaky sea salt to garnish
  • Vegetable oil



Preheat your oven to 200°C.


Add a drop of oil to a cast iron pan and spread it out with a brush or paper towel. If you don't have a cast iron pan, use an oven dish or baking sheet.


In a large bowl add the flour, baking soda and sea salt and mix well.


Add the butter and crumble it in with your fingers by rubbing it into the flour until the butter pieces are very small.


Add the buttermilk and mix with a wooden spoon to start with. Use your hands to bring the dough together, it will feel sticky and heavy.


Roll it into a bowl, add it to the pan and press down slightly.


With a sharp knife score a large X in the top, about 2.5 cm deep.


Sprinkle with a generous pinch of flakey sea salt.


Bake in the oven for ± 50-55 minutes. The loaf will sound hollow when you tap on the bottom of it.


Remove the soda bread from the pan and let cool for at least 10 minutes before tucking in!


The bread is best eaten fresh, but will keep in an airtight container for 2-3 days. If you have time it helps to warm it in the oven again before eating.


Buttermilk reacts with the baking soda to help it rise. If you don't have buttermilk you can use 2 cups milk mixed with 2 tablespoons lemon juice or vinegar for the same effect.

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