You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Recipe for Irish brown bread

Karoline Boehm Goodnick for The Boston Globe

Makes 1 round loaf

Brown bread, leavened with baking soda and made mostly with whole-wheat flour, is said to be the real Irish bread. The familiar cross cut into the top of the loaf allows heat to penetrate the center so the bread bakes evenly. This version, from Theodora FitzGibbon’s “A Taste of Ireland,” cools on a rack so the crust is crisp. For a softer bread, wrap the hot loaf in a clean dish towel until cooled.

4cups whole-wheat flour
cups all-purpose flour
1teaspoon baking soda
1teaspoon salt
2to 3 cups cold buttermilk
All-purpose flour (for sprinkling)

1. Set the oven at 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Continue reading below

2. In a bowl, whisk the whole-wheat and all-purpose flours, baking soda, and salt to blend them. Make a well in the center and pour in 2 cups of buttermilk. Using a wooden spoon, stir the mixture lightly and quickly to blend fully. The dough should be soft and moist but not too wet. Add a little more buttermilk if needed.

3. Dust a counter lightly with all-purpose flour and set the dough on it. With floured hands, form the dough into a mound, but don’t knead it; too much handling will make the bread tough. Flatten it into a round about 1½ inches thick. Place the dough on the parchment. Using a wet knife, make a deep cross in the top of the loaf (do not cut all the way through to the bottom, but cut to the edges).

4. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until the loaf is nicely browned, firm in the center, and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. It is better fully baked than underbaked. Transfer the loaf to a rack and cool for about 30 minutes. Serve with soft butter. Adapted from “A Taste of Ireland”

Loading comments...
Want each day's news headlines delivered fresh to your
inbox every morning? Just connect with us
in one of the following ways:
Please enter a valid email will never post anything without asking.
Privacy Policy
Subscriber Log In

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of
Marketing image of