Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Bready, steady, go! Mammy's easy Irish soda bread recipe

Waking up to the smell of bread baking was the only effective way of persuading my younger self out of bed on weekend mornings. My mother is from Conamara and her recipe for Irish soda bread (passed down for generations) is very easy to make and can be adapted to make both brown and white soda bread. It also is the same recipe used for scones.

RISING STAR: Irish brown soda bread made by Eoghan

Tired of buying bread, my lovely assistant Eoghan made the lovely brown bread below (I took the rather dark photographs). Here's how:

Mammy's very easy Irish soda bread recipe

The measurements are rough guidelines. The original recipe didn't take account of the metric system!

This recipe is for brown soda bread. To make white soda bread, it's exactly the same except you will be using plain flour only, (i.e. 3 cups of plain flour for white soda bread instead of the 2 cups wholemeal and 1 cup plain required for brown soda bread).

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Baking time: 40-45 minutes


  • large mixing bowl
  • wooden spoon
  • circular baking tin (as big as you want your bread to be, the larger the better)
  • a cup (small, medium or large, whatever size you want your bread to be!). The other cup you'll need to drink tea out of while making the bread.
On the subjects of cups, let the desired size of the bread dictate. The cups pictured are (from left to right) by Cath Kidston, Irish design company Placed and Orla Kiely.


  • 2 cups wholemeal flour
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon bread soda
  • buttermilk (you need to have at least a quarter of a litre/250 ml)
  • butter for lining the cake tin

Optional additional ingredients (or apps, as my iPhone user Mammy likes to call them!):
  • a free-range egg (will help the mixture to stick together better)
  • Wheat Germ  (for extra goodness)
  • raisins (if you want to make scones or white soda spotty bread, lovely smothered in butter and jam)
Okay, now it's bready, steady, go!

1. Grease the baking tin! And set your oven to Gas Mark 5.

2. Pour in the 1 cup of plain flour into the bowl. (You may have to use a sieve).

3. Add 2 cups of wholemeal flour into the bowl. (You may have to use a sieve). For a whiter brown, add more plain flour. Mix the two types of flour together.

4. Put bread soda onto a teaspoon. Ensure it's flattened with no lumps or bumps.

5. Mix the flour and soda together thoroughly.

6. Now, start pouring in the butter milk, just a small amount.

7. Start kneading the bread. This is a messy job!

8. Add buttermilk while kneading. Mould the mixture into one solid mass, but don't make it too wet. There should be a dusting of flour at the bottom of the bowl. Then you know it's ready to put into the baking tin.

9. Using a knife, cut a cross about half an inch deep.

10. Now pop it into the oven. Check on it after 40 minutes, using a skewer or fork. If it comes out of the bread clean, the bread is ready.

11. Voila! Rest the bread on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes to let it cool. After you've done the inevitable washing up, enjoy with a nice cup of well-deserved cúpan tae.


  1. Eoghan following a recipe... the younger Eoghan would be horrified. Thanks for the recipe, i shall hopefully follow that this weekend!!

  2. He was a great student! Would love to get your mother's bread recipe, must try that!

  3. If it goes on looks alone this recipe is a winner. Mine looks great. Tonight will reveal the exciting truth about fully cooked insides!!!