Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread

Old fashioned whole wheat Irish soda bread that tastes like a mix between cinnamon raisin and rye bread. Perfect for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day!

A few weeks ago, I got my Ancestry DNA results back and . . . and wait for it, I’m 31% Irish/Scottish! This seriously explains so much – like my fair skin, my childhood obsession with butter (I used to eat it plain) and my life-long love for potatoes. As soon as the results came in, I immediately started brainstorming all sorts of the Irish recipes that I could put an EBF spin on, LOL. Cabbage soup, Shepherd’s Pie, any and everything with potatoes . . . so that’s where the idea for an Irish soda bread recipe started.

Irish soda bread made which whole wheat and raisins.

Why do they call it Irish soda bread?

I’ll blame my newfound Irish heritage on this question . . .  first things first, it’s called soda bread because traditionally, it’s made from just baking soda, flour, soured milk and salt. It is a traditional Irish dish and still very prevalent in Ireland! Have you ever had it?

How do you eat Irish soda bread?

There are a ton of different ways to enjoy Irish soda bread! My favorite way is to warm it up in the toaster/toaster oven and spread butter, jam or nut butter on top. You can also use it for salad croutons or enjoy a slice with soup or stew . . . the options are endless. I think I’m going to whip up another batch of this bread for a festive St. Patrick’s Day breakfast!

How to make healthy Irish soda bread?

To make the classic Irish soda bread a bit healthier, I used a mix of whole wheat flour and whole wheat pastry flour, which is lighter than regular whole wheat. Of course, if you can’t find whole wheat pastry flour, regular all-purpose flour will work great.

I also made my own non-dairy buttermilk by adding apple cider vinegar to almond milk. This is a technique I learned a few years ago and it works like a charm. The apple cider vinegar gives the milk a tang similar to buttermilk and it also helps make the bread rise by activating the baking soda.

 Irish soda bread batter in a mixing bowl.

Overall, making soda bread isn’t intimating at all – even cutting in the butter isn’t a big deal. If you don’t have a pastry cutter, no worries because there are many pastry cutter substitutes! You can use a fork, your food processor or a cheese grater to cut the butter into small pieces and incorporate it into the dough.

Whole wheat Irish soda bread dough with raisins in a mixing bowl.

Once your dough is ready, you simply form it into a rounded, disk-shaped loaf a few inches thick and 7 to 8 inches wide, place on a prepared baking sheet and bake. It bakes for about 50 to 60 minutes, or until it’s golden brown and crisp on the outside and and inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Irish soda bread wheat dough on a baking sheet.

I have to say that I LOVE this bread. It’s a little on the dry side, but that’s the way Irish soda bread is supposed to taste, and the sweetness from the raisins mixed with the caraway seeds make it taste so good. I basically ate a whole loaf to myself in 2 days. 🙂 

Irish soda bread made which whole wheat and raisins. Loaf is resting on a wire cooling rack.

If you make this Irish soda bread, please be sure to leave a comment and star rating below letting me know how it turns out. Your feedback is so helpful for the EBF team and other EBF readers.

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Irish soda bread made which whole wheat and raisins. Loaf is resting on a wire cooling rack.

Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread


  • Author: Brittany Mullins
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 10

Description

Old fashioned whole wheat Irish soda bread that tastes like a mix between cinnamon raisin and rye bread. Perfect for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day!


Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 Tablespoons coconut sugar (brown sugar works too)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 Tablespoons caraway seeds
  • 4 Tablespoons cold butter
  • 2 cups raisins, finely minced
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 scant cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a baking sheet.
  2. Thoroughly combine flours, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and caraway seeds. With a pastry blender, cut in butter until finely blended and stir in minced raisins.
  3. Make the buttermilk by adding 1 1/2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar into a 2 cup liquid measuring cup. Add almond milk until you reach 1 1/2 cups of liquid.
  4. In a small bowl, beat the egg and the almond milk mixture. Add to flour mixture. Gently stir and fold until just combined. Form dough into a rounded, disk-shaped loaf a few inches thick and 7 to 8 inches wide.
  5. Place on prepared baking sheet. Using a sharp knife, mark top of loaf decoratively with 1/2-inch deep knife slashes. Bake on the middle oven rack for 50 – 60 minutes or until a knife or toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack and cool completely.

Notes

Adapted from The Grit Cookbook.

  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: Irish

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/10 of recipe
  • Calories: 271
  • Sugar: 24g
  • Fat: 7g
  • Carbohydrates: 53g
  • Fiber: 5g
  • Protein: 6g

Keywords: whole wheat Irish soda bread

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    18 comments
    1. HillaryA
      April 2, 2020 AT 2:39 pm

      I made this for my roommates on St Patrick’s day, and once again, Brittany’s recipes hit it out of the park. MAKE THIS BREAD!!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        April 2, 2020 AT 11:23 pm

        Ahh that makes me so happy to read! I’m so glad you enjoyed this bread. Thanks so much for trying it and for coming back to leave a comment and star rating. I really appreciate it. <3

    2. Erica
      March 30, 2020 AT 8:24 pm

      I left out the raisins because I was pretty sure it wouldn’t please my whole crowd and it was a total hit! Soda bread was new to all of us and we all loved the caraway flavor!

    3. SuzyM
      March 16, 2019 AT 5:41 pm

      Easy and turned out perfect! It looked just like the pictures posted above. The only changes I made were using one cup of raisins (since that was all I had), and using the light brown sugar (since I didn’t have coconut sugar). It went perfectly with my slow cooked corned beef, carrots and brussel sprouts! Thanks for sharing this with us!

    4. Holly
      March 11, 2019 AT 10:41 am

      Looks good! I tried a sample at Trader Joe’s this past week. Theirs was very hard/crusty and they served it with Kerry Gold Butter.

    5. Justine
      March 18, 2010 AT 3:16 pm

      I liked that you put dried fruit and caraway seeds in it! That’s an addition to consider for next time. Who says one can only have Soda bread on St. Patrick’s Day?
      🙂

    6. Jess – The Domestic Vegan
      March 18, 2010 AT 3:03 pm

      Yummy!! I loooove Irish soda bread. I made some yesterday, too! Yours looks great!

    7. K from ksgoodeats
      March 17, 2010 AT 8:27 pm

      I’ve never had soda bread but it looks fantastic! Nicely done!! You’re not the only blogger not indulging in green beer this year – too bad for us!

    8. Denise (the apple hill adventurer)
      March 17, 2010 AT 7:43 pm

      i love irish soda bread, but only if it is made with lots of fruit, and no carraway 🙂 I was going to make some today, but I didnt have time!

    9. Lauren
      March 17, 2010 AT 7:08 pm

      It’s funny how good Irish Soda bread is. I never really would have thought how lovely this bread is until I tried it. What a great way to celebrate the Holiday! 😉

      Hope your day was perfect girl!

    10. Maya
      March 17, 2010 AT 6:35 pm

      I made Irish soda bread today! I love St Patty’s Day.

      I just read your polenta post, I do love polenta so. I never associated it with placenta before, but I think you’ve changed that now. Sheesh, thanks!

    11. BroccoliHut
      March 17, 2010 AT 5:03 pm

      Beautiful bread–perhaps I need to expand beyond my pumpkin and banana bread repertoire.

    12. highonhealthy
      March 17, 2010 AT 4:02 pm

      I’ve never tried soda bread before but it looks delicious! As for celebrating St. Patty’s day.. after work I’ll be going home, maybe going for a run, doing my course and then possibly watching a movie. None of which involves green.. except for the possible green scenery during my run. Oh well.

    13. adrienmelaine
      March 17, 2010 AT 12:53 pm

      I haven’t baked with yeast either- and the whole two hour waiting around thing always throws me off baking real bread- it’s on the to do list for when I get back– you’re in inspiration! hahah

    14. Rose
      March 17, 2010 AT 12:43 pm

      We baked a loaf and it was so good, we baked a second one on Sunday! Happy St. Paddy’s Day!

    15. janetha
      March 17, 2010 AT 12:36 pm

      love the bread, you are so festive and crafty!

    16. Jessica @ How Sweet
      March 17, 2010 AT 12:26 pm

      I have never baked a loaf of bread either! I’ve done pizza crusts and rolls, but never bread. Your’s looks delicious!

    17. Lauren
      March 17, 2010 AT 12:23 pm

      I’ve never made bread either! My Husband has had a few semi-fail attempts and it made me nervous to try.

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