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Traditional Irish Brown Bread

I make this traditional Irish brown bread fairly regularly. Once you make it a couple of times it is really easy to do. My kids love it toasted or just smothered in butter and jam. I tend to make two at a time and freeze one.

Close up of brown bread


  • 275g/10oz coarse wholemeal flour
  • 175g/6oz plain flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1tsp bread soda
  • 25g/1oz butter
  • 3/4 pint/400ml buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Handful porridge oats (50g/2oz) (optional)
  • 1 tbsp Chia seeds (optional)
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds (optional)
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds (optional)


Preheat the oven to 200c. Grease a loaf tin with butter or margarine.

Assemble your ingredients

I tend to buy everything in Lidl but you can get them in any supermarket. Sometimes, it can be tricky to find poppy and sesame seeds but you can get usually find them in health food shops.

First of all, get all your ingredients together before you start.

Ingredients for traditional Irish brown bread

Combine the dry ingredients

Sieve the plain flour, salt and bread soda into a bowl. Add in the wholemeal flour, the chia seeds, poppy seeds, sesame seeds and porridge oats, if using. Mix all the dry ingredients together.

Combine the dry ingredients

Rub in the butter

Rub in the butter until the mixture feel likes fine breadcrumbs.

Rub in the butter to the dry ingredients

Prepare the wet ingredients. Pour the buttermilk into a measuring jug, add in the honey and break in the egg. Next whisk the ingredients together with a fork.

Add in the wet ingredients

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients. Pour in the buttermilk mixture slowly and mix with a knife to bring all the ingredients together.

Pour in the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients.
Mix the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients

Keep adding the buttermilk mixture until all the dry ingredients are combined.

Mix the ingredients to a wet dough consistency. Traditional Irish brown bread.

Add the mixture to the loaf tin

Transfer the mixture to the greased loaf tin. Make a thin line in the top of the loaf with a knife and sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds.

Unbaked brown bread in a loaf tin.

Bake the traditional brown bread in the oven

Put the loaf in the oven for 40 – 45 minutes to bake. Next check that the loaf is cooked. To do this insert a skewer and if it comes out clean then the loaf is cooked.

Leave it to cool for a few minutes in the tin. Take out your brown bread and put it on a wire rack to cool.

Serve with butter and jam

Enjoy your traditional Irish brown bread with butter or butter and jam, whatever you fancy. It will last up to a week in a sealed box or bread storage bin.

Related: How to make a Chocolate Rice Crispy Tree

I hope you try making it. It’s very easy and so tasty and best of all you know exactly what is in it. Let me know in the comments below how you get on.

Pinterest pin for traditional Irish brown bread

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