This quick and easy Wheaten Bread Recipe (Irish brown soda bread) is a traditional family recipe. It comes together easily in 30 minutes with no yeast or rising time. Perfect for St. Patrick's day celebrations or any time you want fresh tasty bread, fast.
Wheaten bread is a type of dense Irish brown soda bread that's particularly popular in Northern Ireland. It's perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
This recipe is very special as it's a traditional family recipe that has been passed down through generations of my Northern Irish family.
Wheaten bread is a popular type of brown soda bread that is found in Northern Ireland, that has no yeast, no kneading, and no rising time. It is seriously easy!
I grew up on this bread and I make it all the time for my family too.
It's made with whole wheat flour, wheat bran (optional), buttermilk, sugar, and baking soda. Just mix it up and bake!
The addition of wheat germ (wheat bran) is optional, but gives the bread a nutty flavor and makes it extra healthy and packed with fiber.
This bread is very forgiving as the flours can be mixed and matched to create a tasty loaf of bread. I love this recipe for using up the ends of packages of different types of flour. You can use a little all-purpose, some bread flour, a bit of wholewheat flour - it all works!
Wheaten bread is perfect served with Irish butter, but it's also great with jams, honey, or Nutella.
Make a loaf for breakfast or snack, or for a special Irish occasion like St. Patrick's Day!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- This hearty bread is made with simple ingredients you can find anywhere.
- You can use whatever flour you have on hand to create the base of the bread.
- Great for a St. Patrick's Day celebration.
- This traditional Irish recipe is made with a cross slashed in it before baking. Practically, the cross is to help it rise, but it's also said that the cross 'lets the devil out'!
- This versatile bread can be served with sweet or savory spreads.
- Whole Wheat Flour - Adds fiber and a slightly nutty flavor to the structure and texture of the bread.
- All-Purpose Flour - Gives the bread additional structure mixed with a light texture.
- Wheat Bran - (optional) Adds a nutty flavor to the bread. You can also use wheat germ as a traditional ingredient.
- Baking Soda - This allows the bread to rise properly.
- White Sugar - Sweetens the bread slightly.
- Buttermilk - Gives a slight tangy flavor and moistness to wheaten bread. It also gets brushed on top to create a glaze. You can also stir vinegar or lemon juice into regular milk to create 'buttermilk'.
- Salt - Helps activate the leavening agent and balances the flavors in the bread.
Please see the recipe card below for quantities.
How to make Wheaten Bread
Wondering how to make this Wheaten Bread recipe? It's easy! Just follow this step-by-step photo tutorial. Then, scroll down for the recipe card for the full ingredients list and recipe method.
Prepare for baking: Preheat the oven to 430F/220C. Lightly grease a baking sheet with oil and set it aside.
Mix the dry ingredients: Add all ingredients except the buttermilk to a large bowl use a whisk to fully combine the dry mixture.
Mix the dough: To the dry ingredients, pour in the buttermilk and mix just until combined without overworking.
Assemble the dough: Form the dough into a ball and place it onto the prepared baking sheet. Flatten it out slightly and cut a cross on the top, halfway through the dough to allow it to rise properly. Brush the top with buttermilk.
Bake and cool: Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the bread rises and turns golden brown. Cool for 30 minutes on a wire rack before slicing and serving.
This wheaten bread recipe can be made with all-purpose flour only if you don't have wheat flour on hand.
Buttermilk can be made by adding some lemon juice or white vinegar to milk. Stir and let it sit for a few minutes to curdle.
This is a forgiving recipe so you can use all ap flour, all whole-wheat flour or a mix of flours - just make sure you use the correct total cup measure/weight.
If you can find wheatgerm (try whole food stores) it adds a great flavor and is a traditional addition.
The easy whole wheat bread can also be baked in a loaf pan if you don't want to use a baking sheet.
Make sure you don't overwork the dough as it can result in a tough loaf of wheaten bread.
Be sure to let the bread cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving, to avoid it from crumbling.
This bread has no preservatives and is best eaten within 2 days. By the second day, you will probably need to toast it, but it's very tasty toasted!
Try adding honey instead of sugar.
Enjoy wheaten bread simply spread with butter, or add jam, ginger orange marmalade, or other spreads.
Serve your wheaten as part of an Ulster Fry (cooked breakfast).
To make this recipe vegan, you can use non-dairy milk. Just make sure you use an acid like lemon juice or vinegar with it to activate the baking soda.
Use molasses to sweeten to create a darker, richer flavor profile.
Add raisins, currants, or other dried fruit for a bit of sweetness and texture.
Try adding some spices like cinnamon or nutmeg to the dough for extra flavor.
Storing: To store, wrap the wheaten bread in plastic wrap or store in a sealed container. It will keep for up to four days at room temperature or for two weeks in the fridge.
Freezing: To freeze, wrap the wheaten bread in plastic and then aluminum foil, or place it in a freezer bag. It will keep for up to three months. Defrost overnight before serving at room temperature. It may benefit from being toasted before serving.
Wheaten bread is a type of brown soda bread. It has a nutty flavor and slightly dense texture with a light tangy flavor from the buttermilk.
Wheaten bread is made with whole wheat flour which makes it more nutritious than white bread. It also has added bran for extra fiber.
Wheaten bread is a type of brown soda bread that is popular in Northern Ireland. It gets its name from the wheat flour that is used in the recipe.
Traditional Irish Recipes
Wheaten bread is a classic Irish recipe that we love! I hope you'll be sure to try these other Irish recipes too!
More Bread recipes
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- 2 ¼ cups whole-wheat flour (350g)
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour (50g)
- ¼ cup wheat bran (wheat germ or substitute more ap flour) (50g)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ¼ cups buttermilk 300ml (or milk with 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar stirred in), plus a tablespoon extra for brushing
- Preheat the oven to 430°F/220°C. Lightly grease a baking sheet with oil.
- Add all ingredients except the buttermilk to a large bowl and whisk to combine.
- Add the buttermilk and mix to combine, but take care not to overwork the dough.
- Form the dough into a ball and place onto the baking sheet. Flatten it out slightly and cut a cross on the top, halfway through the dough.
- Brush the top with the extra buttermilk and bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until risen and golden.
- Allow to cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes before cutting.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors, so is not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietician for special diet advice.