Traditional Irish Brown Bread
Serves: 2 loaves
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups coarse wholemeal flour (or 1 cup whole wheat flour mixed with ½ cup bran)
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup cold butter, cubed
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp raw honey
  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk
  • Oats, for sprinkling over the loaves
  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F and line two 8 x 4-inch loaf tins with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the AP flour, wholemeal flour, oats, salt and baking soda. Add the cold cubed butter and rub the butter into the flour mixture using your fingers or a pastry cutter. You want the butter to be really well combined with the dry ingredients, making the mixture slightly crumbly.
  3. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients. In a large measuring cup, measure out the buttermilk, then add the egg and honey and mix well. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix.
  4. Irish brown bread has a bit of a bite to it, so I like to work this dough just enough to activate the gluten. The dough will be wet, and you don’t want to add any more flour to it, so just use your hand or a wooden spoon to work the dough for about 1 minute.
  5. Divide the dough evenly between the two loaf pans. Spread the dough so it fills each corner of the loaf tin. Sprinkle the top of each loaf with oats.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes, depending on your oven. Check the bread after 35 minutes. When baked, it will be puffed up and dark brown all over.
  7. Remove the hot bread from the loaf tins as soon as possible. Let it cool completely before slicing or it will fall apart (though chunks of hot bread with melting butter and jam is divine, so go with your gut).
  8. Serve on its own with jam and butter, or serve alongside soup, chowders, boiled dinners, or salads.
These loaves freeze really well once baked and will keep for 3 to 4 days if kept in a tightly sealed bag or container.
Recipe by Food Bloggers of Canada at