Irish Brown Bread



I have been fairly out of pocket the last few weeks. It’s tough to keep a full time job, work on a food site & get your home ready for the holidays. I vowed to get ahead this weekend and pile up a few holiday recipes.

Being part of a big Irish family forces you to search until the perfect brown recipe appears, and this one belongs to Mr. Matty Murphy, the former owner of Matt Murphy’s Pub in Brookline, Massachusetts. I indulged in this bread way too many times when I lived near there, and was too happy when his recipe was published in the Boston Globe earlier this year.

This brown bread recipe will be a hearty addition to your holiday table. I often slice it up into 4-bite pieces and serve it alongside some rich soft butter.

Brown Soda Bread


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup wheat bran
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 1/3 cups buttermilk
  • Extra all-purpose flour (for sprinkling)

Set the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly flour a baking sheet. You could also use a silpat.

In a bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Stir well with a wooden spoon. Add the buttermilk and stir gently until just combined; the mixture will be very sticky.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and gently shape it into an oblong disk. Lift the dough carefully and bend the sides of the dough back, causing the top of the disk to break open and look crackly. Set it on the floured baking sheet.

Cut an X or straight line into the dough, about 1/2 inch deep. Sprinkle the top of the dough with flour. Bake the bread for 40-45 minutes or until it’s brown and the bread sounds hollow wen rapped no the bottom with your knuckles.

Cool the bread on a wire rack or, in my case, an Irish tea towel, for 10 minutes before serving.

This recipe belongs to Keri Fisher and Matty Murphy, and I’m so grateful for it this time of year!

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  • Lnda Clark

    Maggie, I can’t wait to try this recipe. I’d forgotten all about this wonderful bread until I saw this recipe on your site. The first and last time I was lucky enough to eat this treat was when I was in Ireland almost 10 years ago. A new resident of the area, this is a perfect edible introduction!! BTW, I am Hilary’s mother.

  • Maggie

    Hi Linda, Thanks for posting! You know, I’ve never been to Ireland but am in love with anything Irish – food, whiskey, my husband! I’m so excited that you’ve moved here and cannot wait to meet you soon. As you know, Hilary’s become one of my closest friends, don’t know what I’d do without her! Hope your move went well, and make the bread soon!

  • Erin

    Oh yum! This may be just what the doctor ordered, especially considering all of the snow we’re going to get tonight. Thanks so much for sending me the link and I hope you’re feeling better soon!

  • Paula V

    Any tried and true Irish Soda Bread recipes?

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