Traditional Irish Breads


Dennis Weaver

Irish BreadSometimes bread makes the meal.

Ireland has an old culinary history including a wonderful array of breads. These breads tend to be rustic, often with whole grain flour, potato flour, or buttermilk and often leavened with baking soda instead of yeast. Explore these hearty, interesting breads with us.

Irish Soda Bread: This may be the most famous of the Irish breads. It’s made with soda and buttermilk. (The soda reacts with the acidic buttermilk to create carbon dioxide.) Soda bread splits around the middle while baking like a large biscuit. There are many varieties of this bread and many are made with whole wheat flour. Our favorite version has a bit graham flour. (See our Irish Soda Bread mix.)

Raisin Soda Bread: Often Irish soda bread is made with raisins or currants. When doing so, we prefer a touch of orange zest and maybe allspice. Occasionally, you will find a raisin soda bread label as regal soda bread. Regal soda bread is made with or without raisins and with a shot of Irish whiskey.

Irish Potato Bread: This bread is made with potato flour and lots of buttermilk. The buttermilk and potato flour gives it a wonderful, sourdough-like flavor. It’s usually made in a rustic round loaf. (See our Summerhill Irish Potato Breads in  both in wheat and white flour versions.)

Barm Brack: This traditional bread is made with fruit and spices. It is usually made with yeast though we have found many recipes calling for soda and buttermilk as leavening. When made with soda, it resembles a dense, fruity cake. Often the fruit is soaked overnight in black tea.

Aran Spiosrai (Irish Spice Bread): This chemically leavened bread is made sweet and spicy. It usually has raisins and is chemically leavened. It too resembles a dense, fruity cake.

Print