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Traditional brown soda bread

Traditional Brown Soda


One of my favourite bread. Its been around for many years and its a staple in Irish households! , 


Perfect with soup or for an open sandwich or just with some butter and jam and a cup of tea!


The buttermilk in the shops is low fat but if you have access to rich, thick buttermilk, there is no need to add butter or extra cream. 


This is just like a white soda. You don’t use any loaf tins for this. You use your hands to mix and then work it into a round shape and place on a baking tray


Makes 1 loaf


225g (8oz/2 cups) brown wholemeal flour (preferably stone-ground)

225g (8oz/2 cups) plain white flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 level teaspoon bread soda (Bicarbonate of Soda/Baking Soda) sieved

2 tablespoons (2 1/2 American tablespoons) of fresh cream ( only if buttermilk is low in fat)

400-ml (14-15fl oz/1 3/4 cups – generous 1 3/4 cups) of buttermilk

Sprinkle of wholemeal flour for the worktop and baking sheet



First, preheat the oven to 230°C/450°F/Gas Mark 8.


Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large wide bowl, rub in the butter (if using cream, add to the buttermilk). Make a well in the centre and pour in all of the buttermilk.

Using one hand, stir in a full circle starting in the centre of the bowl working towards the outside of the bowl until all the flour is incorporated. 

The dough should be soft but not too wet and sticky. When it all comes together, a matter 

of seconds, turn it out onto a well-floured board (use wholemeal flour).


Roll around gently with floury hands for a second, just enough to tidy it up. Flip over and flatten slightly to a nice rounded shape. 

Sprinkle a little of the spare wholemeal flour from the worktop onto a baking tray. Lay the loaf on top of the flour. Mark the surface with a deep cross and prick each corner of the bread with your knife to let the fairies out (very Irish of us!) 


Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6 and cook for a further 30 minutes approximately. Turn the bread upside down on the baking tray and continue to cook for 5-10 minutes. The bread will sound hollow when tapped on both sides.


Cool on a wire rack, serve with plenty of butter!

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