Whole-Wheat Irish Soda Bread

How to make soda bread, the traditional Irish quick bread that puts hot bread on the table in under an hour. Here, whole-wheat flour is mixed 1:1 with all-purpose flour to mirror the authentic wholemeal breads from Ireland. Grab a little Irish butter and the jam jar, this is good stuff, easy yeast-free bread whether warm from the oven or toasted for leftovers.

Whole-Wheat Irish Soda Bread ♥ KitchenParade.com, traditional Irish soda bread recipe except with whole wheat flour. No yeast!

Whole Food, Simply Prepared. "Plain" But Perfect. Irish Soda Bread Made from Scratch. Real Food, Mere Minutes to the Table. Year-Round Kitchen Staple. Budget Friendly. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Easy DIY. Vegetarian. So Good!

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For the Best Warm Bread, Make It From Scratch.

Sure, you can buy bread in plastic bags from the grocery, in logs from the freezer section, even in paper sacks from the bakery.

But the best bread comes straight out of your own oven, hot and ready to dunk into soup or lather with butter and honey.

Soda bread is what’s called a "quick bread". For sure, it’s quick to make. But in the kitchen, "quick" means that the leavening action (that is, what makes the bread rise) comes from something other than yeast, usually baking powder or baking soda, in this bread, both.

So some night soon, impress your family – and yourself! – with a crusty, delicious loaf of bread hot from your own oven. They’ll beg for more!

What is Irish Soda Bread?

Irish Soda Bread is a traditional yeast-free bread, one to toss together at the last minute to add substance to a light meal or for dunking into a hearty Irish stew. It's a rustic loaf with a subtle tang, slightly crusty on the outside and a hearty texture inside, perfect for slathering with butter or dunking into a hearty stew.

It's a staple of Irish cuisine with a long history. But it's not just "Irish"! Soda bread is indigenous to other cuisines as well, Scottish and Serbian, for two. It's also similar to other quick breads without yeast that mix and bake quickly such as buttermilk biscuits and flat breads.

If you like, add a few raisins or dried currants to Irish Soda Bread, if only for the name: Spotted Dick!

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Whole-Wheat Irish Soda Bread ♥ KitchenParade.com, traditional Irish soda bread recipe except with whole-wheat flour. No yeast!

~ PIN This ~


Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Oven time: 35 minutes
Makes 8 slices
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 125g (see ALANNA’s TIPS)
  • 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 125g
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon table salt (the regular fine-grained stuff, not the coarser sea salt or kosher salt)
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk (see TIPS)
  • 1/2 tablespoon flour
  • 1 egg white, whisked

Heat the oven to 375F/190C. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

MIX THE DRY INGREDIENTS In a medium bowl, stir together the Dry Ingredients (that is, the flours through the salt), then make a shallow well in the center.

Right in the well, use a fork a meat fork or a metal whisk to whisk the Wet Ingredients until frothy, doing your best to whisk the white and buttermilk while incorporating as little flour as possible. With the meat form or a wooden spoon, gently combine the egg-buttermilk mixture with the Dry Ingredients just until moistened.

GENTLY KNEAD Dust a clean counter with the 1/2 tablespoon of flour. Gather the dough together from the bowl and drop it onto the flour. Knead the dough, gently, (see TIPS) for a minute, just a few turns and long enough to bring it all together into a cohesive batter.

SHAPE the dough into a round or oblong loaf and place on the lined baking sheet. Slash the top in an X or cross-hatches about 1/4 inch deep, then brush the top lightly with the last egg white.

BAKE for 30 – 35 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Serve immediately and enjoy!

ALANNA's TIPS Always, always always! stir flour to aerate it before measuring. Otherwise, you’ll use up to 25% more flour than is intended and your bread, your muffins, all your baked goods will be heavy and tough. Not good! Better still, use a kitchen scale like this Escali kitchen scale (affiliate link) to weigh the flour. Your baked goods will turn out so consistently and better still, no measuring cups to wash! Whole-wheat pastry flour is different than plain ol' whole-wheat flour. It has less gluten, that's the protein that gives baked stuff texture and weight. But if whole-wheat flour is already on hand, use a scant (just less than a full) cup. In a pinch, you can also substitute additional all-purpose flour though with different results. Don’t buy buttermilk if you have milk and a lemon. Just mix 3/4 cup milk with 2 teaspoons lemon juice, called "souring" milk, an easy if imperfect buttermilk substitute. Kneading is easy! Press the dough away from you with the heel of one hand, then fold it over itself toward you, then turn it a quarter turn. Repeat the press-fold-turn process in continuous motion – you’re kneading bread! But do use a light touch vs really working the dough.
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Slice (assumes 8): 127 Calories; 1g Tot Fat; 0g Sat Fat; 1mg Cholesterol; 327mg Sodium; 25g Carb; 2g Fiber; g Sugar; g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 2 & PointsPlus 3 & future WW points.

Seasonal Cooking: This Same Week, Across the Years

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Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail, you'll find my current address in the FAQs. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Anonymous7/21/2007

    Glad you worked out this recipe! I haven't touched soda bread since I got back from Ireland. Perhaps I'll have to go flip my oven on in honor St. Patty...



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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna