Irish Wholemeal Soda Bread

I’m very proud of my Irish heritage, as I’ve mentioned before my parents are from Belfast and I lived there myself in my early twenties and loved every minute of it.  Belfast is the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland and people are very friendly.  It’s a warm and welcoming place despite the period of conflict known as the ‘troubles’ which has been in a period of calm for many years now.  One of the foods I enjoyed when living there was Soda Bread and Soda Farls (soda bread dough, flattened and divided into farls meaning four parts).  The soda is used to leaven the bread instead of yeast and kneading which makes it an extremely easy bread to make.

I have vivid memories of bakeries selling soda bread and soda farls filled with egg and bacon.  I began to crave one every day and delighted in the salty, smoky taste of the bacon, the soft egg dripping down my hand and the soda taste to the bread.

Charlie had sniffed out the bread as soon as it hit the table to photograph.  I know most dogs are food obsessed but Charlie’s nose is something else, I think he’d make an excellent truffle hunter.

After making soda bread, I had a hankering to make another Irish recipe and Hayley asked if I’d make potato bread.  She’d tried it before when an Aunt visited my parents recently and brought a plate for us all to share with a big pot of tea.  Her potatoes had been well mashed as the bread was smooth, perfect thickness and beautifully cooked.   Mine…well, it was all eaten but I need some more practice!

Wholemeal Soda Bread

1 cup plain (all purpose) flour
1 cup wholemeal flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp bi carbonate of soda
1 tblsp honey
300ml buttermilk

Oats for sprinkling

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C.

Place both flours, salt and bi carbonate of soda together in a bowl and mix together with a whisk and make a well in the centre.  In a separate small bowl whisk together the buttermilk and honey and pour in the honey and buttermilk.  Using your hands (floured) work everything together lightly until you have a loose, wet dough.  Shape into a round.  Sprinkle with oats.

Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper and make a cross incision using a sharp knife.

Bake for around 40-50 minutes.

The loaf should sound hollow when tapped on the base.

This recipe is adapted from a recipe I saw in Sunday Life Magazine by Bill Granger.  His was seeded soda bread.

Catherine x


  1. mel

    Oh Catherine this bring back memories… Did you know I was a cook in an Irish pub in France? Hilarious, god knows how I got the job. Anyway I used to make soda bread every day and just the other day was thinking about it and wished I kept the recipe. Thank you and beautiful photos!

  2. tina @ colourliving

    I always forget about your Irish roots:-))

    Love Irish soda Bread but am on a Paleo diet so no bread/grains for me… I only miss it when I see home-made, fresh and warm bread… otherwise I'm fine.

    Yours looks really delicious and I LOVE seeing Charlie have a peek:-)) x

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