Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread
Published Mar 13, 2021, Updated Jun 27, 2023
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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 years ago, I did Ancestry DNA and found out that 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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 🙂
More Easy Bread Recipes
Be sure to check out all of the quick bread recipes on EBF!
Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread
- 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
- Preheat oven: Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a baking sheet.
- Mix dough: 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.
- Make buttermilk: 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.
- Add wet ingredients: 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.
- Bake: 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.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.