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Whole wheat Irish Soda Bread: A new way to enjoy a traditional favorite

Irish Soda Bread made with whole wheat flour
Irish Soda Bread made with whole wheat flour
Marylou Morano

According to the Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread, the oldest published Irish Soda Bread recipe found to date appeared in the November 1836 “Farmer's Magazine,” which was published in London. Throughout the centuries, the true Irish Soda Bread recipe has not changed. It calls for just four ingredients: flour, salt, baking soda and soured milk (or buttermilk).

Using whole wheat flour adds a new dimension to this old Irish favorite. The following recipe, which is adapted from the one on the Eating Well website, is extremely simple. It takes about five minutes to put the dough together and 50 minutes to bake. Like traditional Irish Soda Bread, this recipe doesn't call for raisins or currants, but they can be added. Makes 1 loaf.


2 cups whole-wheat flour
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups buttermilk


1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray and sprinkle lightly with flour.

2. Whisk together the whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.

3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in buttermilk. Starting in the center of the bowl and working toward the outside of the bowl, stir until all the flour is incorporated. The dough should be soft but not too wet and sticky. When it all comes together, turn it out onto a well-floured surface.

4. Pat and roll the dough gently with floury hands, shaping it into a round. Transfer the loaf to the prepared baking sheet. Mark with a deep cross using a serrated knife and prick each of the four quadrants.

5. Bake the bread for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 400° and continue to bake until the loaf is brown on top and sounds hollow when tapped, 30 to 35 minutes more. Transfer the loaf to a wire rack and let cool for about 30 minutes.

The Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread most likely would not approve of the use of whole wheat flour to make Irish Soda Bread, but it will have to agree that the result is delicious.

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