Like all other Irish soda breads, Irish brown soda bread needs the leavening power of baking soda to help make it rise to the occasion. Yet this take receives an earthy boost from whole wheat flour and a touch of sweetness from molasses while steel-cut oats, a staple of Irish agriculture, bring a bit of textured crunch to the top. You can find more authentic soda bread recipes in our Authentic Ireland July/August 2020 issue.
- 2¼ cups (281 grams) stone-ground whole wheat flour
- 1¼ cups (156 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons (4.5 grams) kosher salt
- ¾ teaspoon (3.75 grams) baking soda
- 2 cups (480 grams) whole buttermilk
- ¼ cup (85 grams) unsulphured molasses
- 1 large egg (50 grams)
- 3 tablespoons (33 grams) steel-cut oats
- Preheat oven to 325°F (170°C). Spray an 8½×4½-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flours, salt, and baking soda until well combined. Make a well in center.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk, molasses, and egg. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture. Using one hand like a claw, mix buttermilk mixture into dry ingredients, working from center to outside of bowl, just until combined. Spoon dough into prepared pan, and spread until even. Sprinkle with oats.
- Bake until deep golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted in center registers 200°F (93°C), 1 hour to 1 hour and 5 minutes. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes. Remove from pan; wrap in a clean tea towel, and let cool on a wire rack. Best served warm.
Overmixing leads to tough baked goods. Recipes that are sensitive to overmixing the dough, like muffins, biscuits, and each of our soda breads, require you to make a flour well. This allows you to mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients in a uniform manner.
Think of your hand as your most prized baking tool for soda bread. Forming it into a claw and working from the center to the outside of the bowl helps combine the wet and dry ingredients with minimal risk of overworking your dough.
Brown soda bread has a softer crust than your traditional yeast-leavened or sourdough bread. To add an extra note of chew to the crust, we sprinkled the top with steel-cut oats before baking.