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Whole Wheat Irish soda bread

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Whole Wheat Irish Soda bread is a simple and quick yeast-free bread made using pantry staple ingredients. A traditional hearty mix-and-bake bread can be ready in as little as 1 hour.

Irish Brown Soda Bread on white parchment paper.
Irish Brown Soda Bread on white parchment paper.

What is Soda Bread

Soda bread is a quick bread made using Soda as the leavening agent. One of the most popular breads in Ireland. Called Irish Soda Bread and the soda is referred to as Bread Soda.

The texture of Soda Bread

Soda bread typically has a rough texture. It is made using coarse flour, i.e. either whole wheat or a whole meal. Whole wheat flour has more protein content than all-purpose or white flour and is darker in color.

Close up look of Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread.

Flours used in Soda Bread

Whole wheat or whole meal flour is the main flour used in bread. When baked with this bread it is called Brown soda bread. Brown soda bread at times also have a mix of whole wheat and all-purpose flour. 

One can use all-purpose flour completely too instead of using whole wheat or whole meal. It is simply called White Soda Bread. 

Oats are often added to this bread and for the liquid buttermilk is added. Buttermilk reacts with the soda for the rise. There are no eggs or sugar used in the recipe but it can be added.

Whole meal Irish Soda bread cut into slices and on a jute bag.

Wheaten Bread

When sugar is added or if the bread is sweetened it is referred to as Wheaten bread which is richer than soda bread. Traditionally this soda bread was baked as a flatbread on a grill. The griddle cake or farl is a flattened type of bread cooked on a griddle. It is also referred to as soda farl and is quite common in the Northern parts of Ireland. Did you try Boxty-Irish Potato Flatbread which is cooked on a griddle?

I love this bread probably due to its coarse texture. Yes, I love brown bread or bread made with wholemeal or whole flour. Most of my restaurant trips earlier used to be this bread and some soup. I was meaning to give this bread a try for ages but never did. So finally I did bake it and I am glad I did.

I adapted this recipe from a pocket Bread & Baking Book from the Irish Granny’s. The original recipe had a mix of whole wheat and all-purpose flour used. I have simply used whole wheat flour. I have also used oats in this recipe for the crunch and added nutrients.

For liquid, I have replaced the typical buttermilk, which is made using milk and water. I have made it using homemade buttermilk made using yogurt and water. 

Just Baked Irish Brown Whole Wheat Soda Bread on a cast iron pan.
Just Baked Irish Brown Soda Bread

The texture of Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread

This Whole wheat Irish soda bread was quick to make.  The texture of the bread was soft and moist. Of course, it had its rough wholemeal texture, but what I mean here with soft and moistness is that the bread was not chewy. I enjoyed it lightly toasted with some sunflower seeds butter and some with green tomato chutney for my breakfast. We even had a meal with this with some Irish Leek and potato soup.  

Whole Wheat Irish Soda bread cut into slices with some butter and butter knife on the side.

Can we freeze this bread?

Yes, this bread can be frozen. Let the bread cool completely. Slice and freeze. When required simply toss it in the toaster.

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Irish Brown Soda Bread on white parchment paper.
Irish Brown Soda Bread on white parchment paper.

Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread

Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread is a simple and quick yeast-free bread made using pantry staple ingredients within 1 hour.
4.50 from 2 votes
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Course: Breakfast, Main Course
Cuisine: Irish
Keyword: Bread
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 1 – 6 inches round loaf
Author: Renu Agrawal-Dongre


  • 500 grams of Whole Wheat flour / Whole Meal Flour
  • ¼ cup oats
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Salt


  • 1 tablespoon vinegar + 2 tbsp Yogurt + 350 ml room temperature water -If buttermilk is made using yogurt. Vegans can use vegan yogurt.
  • 375 ml Buttermilk -If Store brought

Extra Ingredients

  • Extra water or buttermilk if required.
  • 1 tablespoon oats for garnish


Buttermilk from yogurt

  • In a bowl or a glass add the yogurt, water, and vinegar.
  • Mix everything and keep it aside.
    Buttermilk in a cup.
  • Preheat the oven to 200 Deg C/ 400 Deg F

Dough for Bread

  • In a large bowl, sift in the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  • Add in the Oats and mix all the dry ingredients.
    Brown Soda Bread Flour Mix.
  • Slowly add the wet ingredients and mix to form a dough.
    Buttermilk added to flour.
  • The dough should not be too wet.
  • Do not knead much, we just need to form a dough.
  • Turn the dough on a lightly dusted surface.
  • Make a round ball from the dough.
    Ready dough for Irish soda bread.
  • Put a cross or make cuts on top of the bread.
  • Sprinkle some oats on the dough.
    Brown Irish Soda Bread Ready to be baked.
  • Put the shaped loaf on a lightly dusted cast iron pan or a baking tray.
    Brown Irish Soda Bread Ready to be baked in a cast iron pan.


  • Bake in a preheated oven for 20-25 mins or until the loaves sound hollow when tapped at the bottom.
  • Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
    Just Baked Irish Brown Soda Bread on a cast iron pan.


  • Standard US Size cups and spoons were used. 1 cup = 237 ml, 1 teaspoon = 5 ml
  • All ovens are different. Please keep an eye after 15 minutes of baking.
  • Whole wheat flour can be replaced with all-purpose flour.
  • A mix of all-purpose and whole wheat flour can be used too.
Tried this recipe?Share your feedback @cookwithrenu_ad or tag #cookwithrenu_ad
Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist. The nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. It varies depending upon the product types or brands.

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Recipe Rating


Sunday 29th of January 2023

I love Irish soda bread and the fact that this is wholewheat is even better. Have saved the recipe to try. Thanks Renu.

Renu Agrawal Dongre

Tuesday 31st of January 2023

Thank You Lin