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Authentic No Yeast Irish Brown Bread Recipe

Easy to make, an authentic Irish Brown Bread Recipe!

Irish Brown Bread is a classic recipe straight from Ireland, making it a great treat to enjoy on St. Patrick’s Day. The hearty recipe combines healthy whole wheat with toasted wheat germ to give this delicious bread a wonderful texture.

Sliced and buttered Irish brown bread

Finding a recipe that resembles the traditional Irish staple is easier said than done. If you’ve tried and failed to capture the taste of Ireland in other brown bread recipes, you’re going to love this guide to making delicious bread every time.

While most American soda breads feature a sweet flavor that often resembles more of a dessert than a bread, this Irish version is a savory treat.

Loaf of Brown Bread

It tastes just like the bread served in the pubs and restaurants in Ireland, making it a perfect accompaniment to your St. Patrick’s Day meal. It’s wonderful when paired with a hearty Irish stew or even a full breakfast.

On top of being packed with flavor, this no yeast brown bread recipe is also super easy to make! You won’t find many wheat bread recipes that are ready in under an hour, which means you’re going to love the simplicity of this easy whole wheat bread.

Loaf of Irish Brown Bread Recipe

What Ingredients You’ll Need:

  • Whole wheat flour
  • Toasted wheat germ
  • Salt
  • Baking soda
  • Molasses
  • Buttermilk

How to Make Irish Brown Bread:

Step One:

  • Preheat the oven. Grease and lightly flour a two-pound loaf pan, if you plan to bake your bread in a loaf. For a more rustic look, skip the loaf pan and shape your bread on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

Step Two:

  • Mix together the dry ingredients, including the flour, wheat germ, salt, and baking soda. Mix until the ingredients are well combined. Add in the molasses and buttermilk, and continue to mix until the ingredients are well combined. A soft dough will begin to form as you mix.
Brown Bread Dough

Step Three:

  • Dust a clean work surface with whole wheat flour and roll the dough out onto the floured surface. Use your hands to knead the dough lightly for one minute. Avoid over-kneading the dough or it will become dry and stiff, resulting in dry bread.
Shaped loaf of brown bread

Step Four:

  • If you will be cooking the bread in a traditional loaf pan, shape the dough into a log the same length as the pan. Place the dough in the pan, then use the handle of a wooden spoon or your palm to create a slight impression on the top of the dough.
  • You can also create a more rustic loaf by simply shaping the dough into a loaf by hand and baking it on a baking sheet. After shaping the dough, place the loaf on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and score a crisscross impression on the top of the loaf.
Shaped dough in loaf pan

Step Five:

  • Bake the Irish Brown bread in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes. You’ll know your bread is done baking when a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the bread to cool for around five minutes in the pan, then transfer it to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

How to Store:

This delicious bread will probably be gobbled up in no time, but if you have leftover slices, it’s very easy to store. Like most bread, brown bread can be stored in a cool, dry place for up to five days. To keep your bread from drying out, wrap it in a cloth or plastic wrap before storing.

What is the Difference Between Irish Brown Bread and Irish Soda Bread?

Understanding the difference between these two traditional Irish recipes is essential to finding the perfect bread for your meal. So, if you’re wondering what’s the difference between Irish brown bread and Irish soda bread, it’s the flavor.

Irish brown bread features a savory flavor, making it perfect for enjoy with a meal, such as dinner or breakfast. On the other hand, Irish soda bread has a sweeter flavor, similar to a scone. This type of bread is best served as a snack or dessert with tea or coffee.

Buttered Bread

Is Irish Brown Bread healthy?

Since this delicious bread recipe is made with whole wheat flour and other natural ingredients, it’s a healthy choice – especially when compared with store-bought white bread.

Using low-fat buttermilk will help keep the fat content of this bread low. And the whole wheat flour and wheat germ will provide you with extra nutrients, ensuring you stay full longer after eating it.

What Can You Eat with this No Yeast Bread?

The beauty of this simple bread recipe is that it pairs well with just about anything! There are a variety of delicious ways you can eat your brown bread after it has finished baking.

  • Top it. One of my favorite ways to eat Irish brown bread is to add some toppings and simply enjoy the flavor. The bread can be topped with plain butter, blue cheese, or jam, such as this Pepper Peach Jam recipe.
  • Pair it with soup or stew. Traditional Irish stew is a great match for this hearty bread, but it would taste amazing with any warm soup on a cold day. I love it with Apple and Butternut Squash Soup!
  • Make a sandwich. Hearty wheat bread is perfect for building a sandwich. Stack your favorite meats and cheeses between two slices to enjoy a delicious homemade sandwich for lunch.
Loaf of Irish Brown Bread Recipe

No Yeast Irish Brown Bread

Yield: 1 loaf
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

An easy to make no yeast bread, authentic Irish Brown Bread, just like the traditional Brown Bread found in Irish pubs and restaurants served with soups or for breakfast.


  • 2 cups whole wheat flour + about a 1/4 cup for dusting
  • 1 cup toasted wheat germ
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 3/4 cups buttermilk


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease and lightly flour an 8x4 loaf pan.
  2. If using a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment (this dough is too wet for the dough hook). Add the dry ingredients and mix well, then add in the wet ingredients and continue to mix until well combined.
  3. To make without a stand mixer, using a large bowl, mix together the flour, wheat germ, salt, and baking soda.
  4. Add in the molasses and buttermilk and mix until well combined.
  5. Dust a work surface with whole wheat flour. Tip out the dough and begin to knead lightly for 1 minute, shaping the dough into a log approximately the same length as the pan.
  6. With the side of your palm or the handle of a wooden spoon, make an impression lengthwise in the dough to create an impression, if desired.
  7. Bake in preheated 400°F oven for 35 - 40 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
  8. Cool about 5 minutes in the pan before removing and finish cooling the loaf on a rack before slicing and serving.


Buttermilk substitute: you can use the equivalent of warm milk mixed with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.

Keep in a dry, cool place for up to 5 days. If you prefer, you can also make this loaf free form. Shape dough into a round loaf and instead of just 1 impression lengthwise, make 2 impressions in the shape of a cross. Place dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet and continue to bake as above.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 75Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 421mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 4g

Updated 2/2/2021 (original post 3/16/2014)

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  1. You forgot a step between steps one and two. The dry ingredients need to be mixed before step 2.
    Great story though. Thanks!

    1. OMG, thank you so much for letting me know! I’ve corrected the typo and hopefully all is well in the world now 🙂

  2. Thanks for this recipe! I also ate only McCambridges bread when I lived in Dublin. I found that King Arthur sells ‘Irish’ flour and I’ve been using that with some plain wheat flour mixed in.

    1. McCambridges bread!!! Oh my yes, I loved it when I was living there too. And yes, King Arthur’s Irish flour is wonderful for this recipe. So glad you found it 🙂

      1. Hi, I plan to make this tomorrow. Can I make the dough ahead of time, say an hour or two, then leave it at room temperature or in the fridge until I’m ready to bake it? I’m having company over and want to do as much ahead of time as possible. Happy St Patty’s Day!

        1. Hi Angela! Yes, that’s perfectly fine, just make sure to cover it with plastic wrap so that it doesn’t develop a “skin” on the dough. I hope y’all enjoy and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!!

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