Old Fashioned Brown Soda Bread


Another month has passed and so with it brings another Irish Foodies Cookalong. The theme for March (being so close to St. Patrick’s Day) was “Traditional Irish” I must admit I was stuck for something to make and announced on Twitter on the morning of the cookalong that I wouldn’t be taking part. But then I started to think back to my childhood and of holidays spent in Ireland.

I was 18 months old the first time I was brought to Ireland to visit relatives. I remember while staying with my Granny (not when I was 18 months old, this was much later!), her mixing up soda bread, baking it in the range and when it was done I’d park myself at the table and help myself to considerable amounts of bread and butter. I’m still addicted to fresh bread and in the last couple of months have gotten back into bread making and bake fresh bread almost daily now.

So there was my answer. I’d bake bread. So about ten minutes after my first tweet, I announced that I was back in.

My mother in law was watching Ireland AM one morning on one of her days off recently when she saw Catherine Leyden making an Old Fashioned Brown Soda Bread, she told me all about it and asked me to get her the recipe from the website. Of course before giving her the recipe I had to try it out for myself. On the day I baked it for the first time the house was particularly busy with visitors, who were all fascinated with this “bread in a saucepan” so it vanished pretty quickly. When my mum tasted it she said it reminded her of her own Granny baking bread in a skillet pot so I decided that it would be perfect for the Traditional Irish cookalong!

What you need:

450g coarse wholemeal

25g wheat bran

1tbsp sugar

125g plain flour

1tsp bread soda

50g butter

1 egg (beaten)

600ml buttermilk (approx)


Preheat your oven to 200ºc and lightly grease a casserole dish with a lid.

Put the wholemeal, bran and sugar into a large bowl then sieve in the flour and bread soda.

Rub in the butter, lifting as you do to introduce air.

Mix the egg and buttermilk together and add sufficient to make a “soft dough”

Turn onto a floured surface and gently roll in the flour.

Transfer to the casserole dish.

Place the lid on and place in the preheated oven.

Bake for about an hour until well risen and golden brown. The bread will be springy to the touch.

Note: Heart shaped casseroles are not very practical when baking this kind of bread as I found it quite hard to get it out. Hence the battered looking soda bread in the last photograph. I swear it wasn’t just to show off my lovely new pot 😉

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