So my favorite part of St Patrick’s Day isn’t the corned beef and cabbage or the green beer. It’s definitely all about this Irish Brown Bread. Check out my favorite hearty brown bread! It requires very little prep, no yeast, no eggs, no sugar and is done baking in 30 min or less!
For our 5 year anniversary, Kevin and I checked off a major bucket list item… a trip of a lifetime exploring Ireland for a week. We stayed in castles, drove around gorgeous landscapes, ate like kings and drank more Guinness than water. I am pretty sure it applies as a water substitute when you are there. #wheninireland is the new #wheninrome.
One thing that will always stand out to us is the full Irish breakfasts we had every morning. They differed slightly at each castle, but all of them had delicious loaves of brown bread. Some were lighter than others, but all had a dense, robust flavor that was just so addicting. It was served with a nice dish of creamy, salted, room temperature butter – perfect for smearing alongside homemade preserves. Seriously, this brown bread was heaven!
Out of all we consumed and devoured, I really wanted to recreate the brown bread when I got back home. Sadly, I learned a lesson about cooking something in another region – the difference in water quality and ingredients carries the potential to totally screw up a recipe that works perfectly somewhere else. This is the same reason Guinness tastes so darn good in Ireland, brewed with their mountain water, but has a bitter aftertaste here in the states where it is not. Side note, to taste anything close to a Guinness in Ireland, pick up a Left-Hand Milk Stout. It is brewed with Colorado mountain water and tastes so similar it’s hard to make out the difference. Just pick up a six-pack the next time you visit your local spirits store…you’ll thank me later! Anyway, I tried sooooo many bread recipes and each time it was a flop. Eventually, I just gave up and decided that decent brown bread was just going to be an Irish secret. And then one day, it happened.
I got it right.
After MANY years, and dozens of loaves, the ingredients finally came together as they should. It required just the right balance of grains with a vinegar based milk to work off of the baking soda, creating a magic leavening effect that doesn’t require yeast. Finished with a touch of molasses, this bread is hearty, filling and is something we love to feast on, especially around St Patricks Day with a nice bowl of corned beef and cabbage. Followed immediately by IRISH TRIPLE THREAT COOKIES because, um, yes!!!
Here are 5 reasons why you have to try this Super Easy Irish Brown Bread:
1) It requires no yeast, no rising, very little kneading and is done cooking in less than 30 minutes. Winning!
2) It can be made either with a buttermilk or as a dairy-free version and still tastes amazing! There are also no eggs, so it can be made vegan very easily without much adjustment.
3) While the portions of grain need to be somewhat similar, the heartier grains can be interchanged for something else if one is not available. A friend of mine didn’t have buckwheat flour, so she subbed for red bulgar and loved it! Side note: I have not made it without Bob’s Red Mill Artisan Bread Flour, which is super easy to find HERE. However, the buckwheat is definitely interchangeable.
4) This bread is such a dense, rich, fiber loaded brown bread and will leave you feeling very satisfied. It is perfect topped with soft butter, preserves, or used to soak up the last of your soup bowl. It literally is beckoning to be a part of every meal from now on for the rest of your life!
5) There is no sugar in this bread. It contains only the natural, iron-rich sweetener, blackstrap molasses, which helps give it a delicious flavor straight outta Ireland.
If you LOVE Irish inspired food, check out these WHISKEY PRALINE MERENGUE CAKE BITES! They are light and fluffy…the perfect balance after a heavy meal of corned beef and cabbage, shepherds pie or Guinness Stew!
Here’s How I make Irish Brown Bread:
1) Mix together milk and vinegar. Let sit for 5 min. Omit this step if using buttermilk. Mix together dry ingredients and set aside.
2) Add molasses to milk mixture and mix well. Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix together until incorporated. If there is too much liquid, let sit for a few minutes until the oatmeal absorbs some of the moisture.
3) Turn brown bread mix onto a floured surface and add flour until dough is no longer sticky and can be easily handled.
4) Shape into a flat ball or disc and place on parchment-lined baking sheet. Press some oatmeal into the top of dough if desired.
5) Bake for 10 minutes at 425, then reduce heat to 400 and bake for another 15-25 minutes, or until the dough sounds hollow when you knock on the top. The baking time will vary based on the shape of your loaf (more time for a rounder shape; less time for more disc-shaped).
6)Serve warm or cold. Goes great with softened butter or preserves!
With much love from my table to yours,
Irish Brown Bread
- 3.5 cups Bob's Red Mill Artisan Bread Flour plus 1/2 cup for kneading and dusting
- 1 cup quick cooking oats
- 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
- 1 + 2/3 cups milk (vegan or regular) or 2 cups buttermilk
- 2 tbsp white vinegar omit if using buttermilk
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp blackstrap molasses
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Mix together milk and vinegar. Let sit for 5 min.
Omit step two if using buttermilk
Mix together dry ingredients and set aside.
Add molasses to milk mixture and mix well.
Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix together until incorporated. If there is too much liquid, let sit for a few minutes until the oatmeal absorbs some of the moisture.
Turn brown bread mix onto a floured surface and add flour until dough is no longer sticky and can be easily handled.
Shape into a flat ball, or disc and place on parchment-lined baking sheet. Press some oatmeal into the top of dough if desired.
Bake for 10 minutes at 425, then reduce heat to 400 and bake for another 15-25 minutes, or until the dough sounds hollow when you knock on the top. The baking time will vary based on the shape of your loaf (more time for a rounder shape; less time for more disc-shaped).
Serve warm or cold. Goes great with softened butter or preserves!
If using buttermilk, make sure to use 2 cups because 1 + 2/3 is not enough liquid since buttermilk is thicker than regular or vegan milk.
Vegan milk can totally be used! Just add vinegar and let it do the magic like regular milk! Almond milk works perfectly.
Buckwheat flour can be exchanged for other dense fibrous flour. You can also grind up other grains like bulgar and use in exchange.
Is that Dromoland Castel? I got married there, yes to an original Irish man. Those Irish breakfasts are my favourite and it is so true water really has an effect on the taste. I noticed it with Tea. absolutely not the same outside UK or Ireland. I love this Irish bread recipe and I am ready to try it
I can’t remember the name of this one but I will check my scrapbook to see if I can find the name. We stayed in quite a few, the most memorable being the Ashford Castle Hotel in Mayo which was breathtaking and a short walk to town. I loved every second of our trip there! How fun that you got married there…and to an Irishman ;) They told us that weddings are booked daily at these Castles because it’s such a romantic location <3
Shadi Hasanzadenemati says
I love homemade bread! This one looks so easy and simple, just how I love bread to be!
Exactly! If I have to wait 14 hours for something to rise only to punch it down again, I am out lol!
Bintu | Recipes From A Pantry says
I adore Irish brown bread and yours looks so delicious – I’d love a slice!
I’ll save you a piece ;) Brown bread is definitely the best!
Kate | Veggie Desserts says
I love soda bread. My parents are Irish and although I grew up in Canada they made soda, wheaten bread and potato farls all the time. It’s such a great bonus that the breads are so quick to make! I’m glad you finally hit the right recipe to match what you had while you were there! I agree, full Irish breakfasts are pretty incredible!
How fun! I wish I had grown up eating this as I never really had anything like it until our trip. Those breakfasts will be a memory I cherish forever! So delicious!!
I recently got a bag of buckwheat flour, now I know what to do with it! This bread looks amazing
Yes this is the perfect place for it! I think it can be a little much in so many recipes but buckwheat flour was made for this one!
You perfectly demonstrate why baking is both a science and an artform. I too have been frustrated when trying to recreate a favorite treat from a vacation and wailing “why doesn’t it taste right – I’m using the same ingredients!” Bread baking is my “happy place” so I’m def going to try your recipe.
It really does get frustrating, especially when you want so badly to make it exactly the same lol. But when you nail it, the best feeling appears! I hope you love the bread!!
I will have to try this out, I love hearty bread and love stout beers. Which always surprises people, being a health nut, but I always say all things in moderation and I love the examples you give for multiple different diet restrictions.
Exactly! There is no reason to throw everything out while living a healthy lifestyle. I agree…moderation is key!
I want to go to Ireland so much! The photos are beautiful. I would have to use gluten-free flour, but would love to try this bread for St. Patrick’s day!
Ireland is soooo much fun! I love the idea of gluten free flour! Let me know how it turns out for you if you make it that way!
Dose Of Inspiration246 says
You are seriously making me want to try this!! It’s look really yummy and hopefully it’s not too hard to make.
It’s so easy! I don’t have as much time in the kitchen since I had my son, so easy is at the top of my list these days. I mixed everything up in literally 5 minutes. It’s the best!
jenna urben | the urben life says
Love that it’s egg-free! Totally want to try this using dairy-free milk :)
A friend of mine tried it recently and it turned out great with no dairy! It is really super versatile!
Sarah Newman says
There’s nothing like homemade bread! Looks so hearty. I lived in Ireland for awhile and love the rustic style like this!
How fun! My husband and I often talk about living there for a long season after we retire. I can’t wait to eat their hearty style food again!
I have to correct you on your assessment of Guiness beer here in the states. I too have heard this from so many that the beer doesn’t taste as good here. Just got back from my first trip to Ireland and I had my first pint at the Guiness Storehouse in Dublin. I’m also a beer geek, home brewer, and studying to become a beer tasting judge (cicerone). Throughout my stay I had several pints at several pubs including Mulligan’s with their “best pint in Dublin” claim. What I noticed was he beer was good. Very good. But I also think part of that was that psychosomatic because I was in freaking Ireland! I strove to really taste and smell and take in the beer. When I returned home I immediately tried a can (gasp) of Guiness and a pint at a local pub. Guess what- basically the same! At least when it comes to the actual aromas and tastes themselves. I even verified while in Dublin that the guinesss we have here is the same as brewed in dublin (same water and all). It’s not brewed locally in the states. And for the record, LH Milk Stout, while a great beer, is nowhere close to Guiness. It’s a sweet stout not an Irish dry stout. Guiness tastes great but I submit the reason it “tastes better” in Ireland is because you’re in one of the most beautiful and historical places in the world. :)
That is a good point Paul! It definitely may have been inspired by the fact that I was in Ireland at the time. Although I still have such nostalgia and feel like LH tastes closer to the Guinness in Ireland for some reason that Guinness brewed here. I think it also varies based on if I am drinking it in a bottle or can or draft as far as the flavor difference. I guess it just goes to show how we all have slightly different taste buds. Thanks for commenting!!
Just returned from Ireland this week and just had to have Irish Brown Bread! I found your recipe and it was super easy to make and oh so tasty! I love the hearty flavor. It wasn’t as crumbly as some of the brown bread I had while there (which is a good thing!). Thank you for sharing this recipe.
You are very welcome Sandy! Oh how I miss Ireland. I hope you had a fantastic trip!
You didn’t cut an “X” across the top!!!!
Haha I know! I have done it before and it is equally delicious both ways ;)
Barb Thorn says
I stayed at Ashford Castle ( amount other places) and you are correct, the bread and breakfasts are to die for! I have been searching for a recipe forever ! Thank you!
You are so welcome! I still make this almost once a week because it is addictive. I hope you love it as much as I do!
I grew up in Ireland and Irish Brown bread is made with Wholemeal flour and buttermilk for the most part. I add wheat and oat bran, and a few other things–but no American made flours can replicate the Wholemeal flour. Bob’s Artisan flour looks like it makes a nice bread, and I love Buckwheat –but alas I would not expect this to taste remotely like the bread I grew up with and make myself in Ca now.
How fun to grow up in such a beautiful country! I agree, its really hard to replicate anything that is made over there while here in the US. I think the water has a lot to do with it as well, especially here in Florida. I found this to be as *close to some of the lighter dark breads as I could get it after multiple attempts. I think the molasses really helps bring out some of the earthy flavors that the oat bran adds in. I hope you enjoy!