Whole-Wheat Soda Bread

Traditional Irish soda bread recipe, updated with whole-wheat flour.

Whole-Wheat Soda Bread

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 ‘quick bread’. For sure, it’s quick to make. But in the kitchen, ‘quick’ means that the leavening action (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!

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! Whole-wheat pastry flour is different than 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 use 100% 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 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!


A yeastless bread, best oven-hot or toasted
Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Oven time: 35 minutes
Makes 8 slices
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 131g (see ALANNA’s TIPS)
  • 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour (see TIPS), fluffed to aerate before measuring
  • 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 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk (see TIPS)
  • 1/2 tablespoon flour
  • 1 egg white, whisked

Preheat the oven to 375F.

In a medium bowl, stir together the dry ingredients (that is, the flours through the salt), then make a shallow well in the center.

Separately, with a fork or metal whisk, whisk the 2 egg whites and buttermilk until frothy and pour into the well. With a wooden spoon, gently combine the two mixtures just until moistened.

Dust a clean counter with the 1/2 tablespoon of flour. Gather the dough together and knead (see TIPS) for a minute. Shape into a round or oblong loaf and place on a greased baking sheet. Slash the top in an X or cross-hatches about 1/4 inch deep, then brush lightly with the last egg white. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Serve immediately and enjoy!

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Slice: 127 Calories; 1g Tot Fat; 0g Sat Fat; 25g Carb; 2g Fiber; 327mg Sodium; 1mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers Old Points 2, Points Plus 3

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. "Like" Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

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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