Mar 13, 2011

Whole grain Irish soda bread


Now before you Irish people start yelling at me, yes – I know this is not an altogether traditional Irish soda bread. “Real” soda bread does not include honey or any other sweetener, for instance. But I like the hint of sweetness it adds. (Hey, at least I didn’t add orange zest.)

I started out to create a 100% whole grain bread – also not traditional – and quickly decided on white whole wheat flour, which is lighter in taste but has the same nutritional value as regular whole wheat flour. I mixed in some oat flour because, well, it just seemed like the thing to do.

In one other departure, I made this bread with kefir instead of buttermilk. But that was just for the simple reason that my store was out of buttermilk (WTF?). But it turns out, kefir – a cultured milk product that’s fermented with kefir grains – worked perfectly. In fact, maybe next time I’ll make it with goat’s milk kefir.

Needless to say, I’m thrilled with the result. The bread has a slightly darker color than your usual soda bread, but it definitely doesn’t taste whole-wheat-y. The raisins and caraway seeds make it a richly-flavored bread that would be perfect for breakfast. Of course, I just ate some for a midnight snack, too.

Whole Grain Irish Soda Bread

3 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 cup oat flour (or finely ground oatmeal)
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds
¾ cup raisins
2 cups lowfat buttermilk or kefir
2 tablespoons honey

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Mix the flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Stir in the raisins and caraway seeds.

In a separate bowl, whisk the buttermilk or kefir and the honey. Stir into the dry mixture, mixing only until the dough just comes together. Transfer to a floured surface and form into a round loaf. Don’t overmix, or the bread will be tough.

Place on a lightly greased cast iron skillet or baking sheet. Score a deep X in the top of the dough. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the loaf sounds hollow when you tap the bottom. Cool before slicing.


See more recipes: Baked goods and desserts, Breakfast


  • best soda bread ever! thank you so much for bringing it in! made my monday morning.

  • Ichabod

    Deeelicious! Moist. Textured. Perfect. Just in time for St. Paddy’s Day…

  • Joan Clifford

    I will definitely try this on St. Patrick’s Day. Thank you for the great recipe! Can’t wait!

  • Hello Cathy,

    I am so happy to find this recipe. Although I’ve been eating healthier the last few weeks, I do not want to give up baking bread…. so this is great to find.



  • I love your take on Irish soda bread! I have to admit, I think it might be good with a little orange zest. :)

  • This looks like a yummy recipe! Thanks for sharing it – I would want to use our family favorite Kamut Wheat which is a whole grain though for extra nutrition! We just love it and I am really wanting to expand my whole grain recipes yay! Happy St Patrick’s Day!

  • Mrs. O

    I made this yesterday for a ST Patty’s gathering with friends- It Was Awesome! Everyone huddled around the breadboard – kids & adults alike and polished this off fast!
    PS my husband suffered two major heart attacks this past summer at the age of 45- we almost lost him- 2 stints later and I have my sweet husband for awhile longer. You blog is helpful to me in the kitchen! thank you!

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