Irish Brown Bread

Goes great with this  Guinness Beef Stew recipe!

I tweeted that it was ugly, but the end result was authentically perfect. With today being St. Patrick’s Day and having an Irish husband, I may feel a little extra pressure to make something as close to home as possible. Earlier in the week I made Irish stew, and we eat Kerrygold butter and cheese like it’s going out of style, but I thought a St. Patrick’s Day breakfast of brown bread and Kerrygold butter would be a nice start to the day. Too bad I was like a total zombie this morning and slept liked I was drugged until 9:00! I literally could not open my eyes this morning and kept drifting back to sleep which never ever happens.  Still, the sentiment was there, and I think he took some bread to go.

The recipe I used was from Food and Wine and could not have been easier. The entire recipe is at the bottom of the post, and I would highly recommend making it if you are into wheat breads.

King Arthur Flour

Any good bread starts with good flour, and I used King Arthur All Purpose and Whole Wheat Flours. Ever since our trip to King Arthur, I have only purchased their flour.

The recipe also called for buttermilk. I didn’t have any in the house, and it was absolutely pouring, so I made my own using the milk called for in the recipe and a few spoons of white vinegar. It works like a charm.


The other wet ingredient was one egg, whipped up in a little cup. Side note, I got these little cups at Crate and Barrel years ago, and I love them.


I first mixed together all of the dry ingredients, then slowly worked in the milk and egg. The dough was kind of a mess and took me a little while to get it into one piece. I was a little sad at this point. But I went ahead and made the cross in the bread for whatever reason the Irish do this.

P.S. I looked it up, and here was what I found:

There are several theories as to the significance of the cross in Irish soda bread. Some believe that the cross was placed in the bread to ward off evil (the devil) or to let the fairies out of the bread. However, it is probable that the cross is used to help with the cooking of the bread by allowing air circulation so that the bread rises better.

Obviously it’s for the fairies. Glad I know that now, and I am glad I put the cross in so that we didn’t eat them. Smile

brown bread

I wished for a little bit of luck, put the loaf into the oven for 50 minutes, and out came this:

brown bread

It’s kind of bumpy, but it actually is pretty close to what you would see by the dozens in an Irish bakery

Irish brown bread

When my husband got home, he was absolutely delighted. A man who probably wouldn’t notice if I moved the furniture to opposite sides of the house noticed that I remembered to put the cross in the bread Smile

Irish brown bread

Even more exciting, it had that nice crust on the outside and was cooked all the way through. I was a little worried that because of the thickness it would be doughy in the middle. Not so!

I love baking recipes with just a few ingredients like this. It was a great rainy day activity!

But it’s not raining anymore! It is an absolutely gorgeous day here in Boston. Our windows are open, and I am going to try to jam work/job hunting into the evening and maybe a little over the weekend in order to take advantage of the sunlight. I need Vitamin D!

Is it beautiful out where you are? What’s on tap for the weekend?

Irish Brown Bread from Food and Wine, Recipe by Cathal Armstrong

  • ACTIVE: 10 MIN
  • SERVINGS: makes one 8-by-5-inch loaf
  • FAST
  1. 3 cups whole wheat flour
  2. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  3. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  4. 1 teaspoon salt
  5. 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  6. 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Butter an 8-by-5-inch metal loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk both flours with the baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the egg; stir into the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon until a rough dough forms.
  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth. Form the dough into a loaf and put it in the prepared pan. Bake for about 50 minutes, until the bread has risen about 1/2 inch above the rim of the pan. Once unmolded, the loaf should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Let cool to warm or room temperature, then slice and serve.
Serve With

Irish farmhouse cheeses.

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Tags: baking, bread, brown bread, Food, food and wine, Irish recipes, recipe, Vegetarian

  1. Michelle’s avatar

    I think it is absolutely adorable that you made this!

    P.S. Can’t wait to see you tomorrow!


  2. Daisy’s avatar

    it looks so good. Happy St Patty’s!!


  3. Justin’s avatar

    That looks so easy! I watched a how2heroes the other day about Irish Soda Bread, and they finished it with the same cross pattern.


  4. Elizabeth’s avatar

    I was literally on cloud nine with the weather today. I love brown bread, especially since it doesn’t have yeast, which always intimidates me.


  5. Megan’s avatar

    The crust on that bread looks so good!


  6. Kelly’s avatar

    Today’s weather was THE BEST. Eric and I were texting each other as soon as the kiddos left being like “run outside today?!”

    Also I love Irish soda bread. If I could have some of that with that amazing vegetable soup you get everywhere in Ireland I would be the happiest person right now. Though I’m pretty satisfied with the weather alone right now.


  7. MelissaNibbles’s avatar

    I was at work until almost 7 so Ididn’t get to enjoy the weather. There’s always tonight though! I’m gonna wang chung!

    This bread looks good. I like how simple it is to make.


  8. alicia’s avatar

    This looks so good – I would love this bread slathered with Kerrygold!


  9. Raija’s avatar

    I want to try making this…it makes me crave the brown bread and butter I’ve had in Ireland. And love the history of the cross!! I love things like that!


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