Heritage: the things that define us, that make us up. Heritage is something we are given, which means that, at some point, it must also be something we leave behind us. Heritage dares to ask both, “Who are you?” and “What are you becoming?” Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread is my heritage.

Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread

It’s who I am: Irish, complete with the temper, affinity for dark beer, love for Beer Bread, and one of those (maiden) names with an “O’.” It’s representative of who I want to be: whole wheat (a maker of simple choices that make my life better) and best when made with really, really good quality butter (a person who cherishes the best things in life).

If you’ve never had Irish soda bread, it’s similar to a scone but less fussy.

The edges are craggy and golden, the flavors earthy and bold. Currants add small pockets of tartness, and caraway seeds give the Irish soda bread a robustness that reminds me that it was probably created by a people more hearty than I—ancestors who lived in the countryside and didn’t complain about taking out the trash.

This is a rugged, no frills bread, and it begs to be slathered in butter or dunked into your stew.

Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread. This easy Irish soda bread recipe is a must make for St. Patrick's Day

How to Make Easy and Delicious Irish Soda Bread

As if to reinforce its point that it is easy going, Irish soda bread is a breeze to prepare.

  • Start by cutting the butter into the flour. (I’m using 100% whole wheat, because this is a rustic bread and I like the nutty flavor, but you could use white whole wheat flour for a milder taste, or even a 50/50 blend of wheat and all-purpose.)
Authentic Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread
  • Next, pour the wet ingredients into the dry, then add the currants + caraway. You’ll still be able to see golden specks of butter, and the dough will be shaggy. It’s sweet, simple, and natural.
Authentic Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread with Step by Step photos
  • After a few turns on a lightly dusted surface, the whole wheat Irish soda bread is ready to bake. A cast iron skillet gives the maximum “down home” factor, but if you don’t have one, a baking sheet works just fine.

If you’re in the mood for muffins instead, make these Irish Soda Bread Muffins.

What to Serve with Irish Soda Bread

More St. Patrick’s Day Favorites

I make this Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread every St. Patrick's Day. It's the best and easiest recipe!

Whole wheat Irish soda bread is who I am and what I will probably always be: craggy; imperfect; a little tart, and a little sweet.

This is (a small slice of) my heritage. What’s yours?

Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread

Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread

5 from 1 vote
An easy to make whole wheat Irish soda bread recipe that is moist, healthy, and absolutely delicious

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 1 hr

Servings: 1 12-inch loaf

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour plus additional for kneading
  • 1 tablespoon Imperial Sugar Granulated Sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter cut into small pieces
  • 1 large egg white beaten
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk plus 2-3 tablespoons
  • 1/2 tablespoon molasses
  • 2/3 cup dried currants
  • 2 teaspoons caraway seeds

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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32 Comments

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  1. I love this post, Erin! And I love that you’re a slatherer of good butter. All kinds of yes!

  2. You know, it never occurred to me make whole wheat soda bread before. Yours is gorgeous. Such great pics! And the texture looks amazing.

  3. I love your thoughts on heritage.  I think I totally agree with the second part that people rarely think about which is what are we leaving behind for the next generation.  I love this bread also.  I love the whole wheat spin.

  4. What a lovely post on heritage, Erin! I didn’t know you were Irish – how fun! Ugh, I couldn’t agree more about leaving something behind for the next generation. I’m always trying so hard to take my mother’s recipes and remake them so I have them for my children and beyond. I want to instill in my future children our heritage and culture. This bread looks amazing!! Looks like you’ve got a winner to hold on to for many generations to come!

    1. I love the idea of you learning your mother’s recipes Julie. What a beautiful legacy to pass on!

  5. I’m not a bread eater, but I just might have to make this one.  Probably minus the caraway, though.

    I absolutely love your comment about heritage.  It speaks to the journey I’ve been on throughout my life.  What I’ve learned is that it’s important to know where you came from, but it’s even more important to become who you were meant to be.  Your comment has made for a wonderful start to my day.  Thank you for that.

    1. Susan, thank you so much for your kind words and for sharing that thought! I hope you love the bread, with or without the caraway.

  6. Your soda bread looks fantastic. I’ve never made soda bread before but have wanted to try to. This whole wheat version sounds like a great place to start.

  7. I love soda bread, it’s such a hearty perfect bread to have with soup or stew, and so quick and easy to make.  I’ve never added caraway seeds, but that sounds amazing.  Can’t wait to try this one!

  8. I love it, “one of those maiden names that start with ‘O'”!! lol. I love soda bread and haven’t had it in years, nor have I had a whole wheat version. I’m definitely going to try this, Erin!

  9. This soda bread looks incredible, Erin! I love how hearty it is and the texture looks perfect! Loved reading your thoughts on heritage!

  10. I have an Irish heritage as well! We have a full-on Irish themed meal for St. Patrick’s Day and I always make the soda bread. This looks great!

  11. I want to claim my heritage as Irish just so I could have this bread :P :P 

  12. I love this post Erin! Great analogy between you and this beautiful bread.  It is far better to be imperfect and have room to grow.  I do love the simplicity of this bread and it looks so inviting.

  13. Mmmm, pass the butter please! I’d like a big slice of this along with my coffee for breakfast.

  14. The caraway seeds are such a clever idea! Looks delicious for breakfast or even just for a snack throughout the day.

  15. Erin, I didn’t know you were Irish . . love what you said here about heritage!! what a beautiful post. .  and I’m all about unfussy breads . . the whole process of bread making is so beautiful so you definitely don’t want something that’s going to stress you out! 

  16. Perfect! And you a temper?? I’d love to witness that. I have one myself which people are often surprised to find out. Ha! Happy Friday girlfriend! 

  17.  Hello, Erin. I didn’t know you were Irish. So nice! I love this post! You’ve never had or made Irish Soda Bread before, but you’ve me inspired to try ;-) 

  18. This looks like the perfect bread with a nice cup of tea :) I have Irish heritage, too (my name has a Mc in it), and I think that’s where my temper must come from…haha!

  19. I have never made Irish Soda Bread so I am especially excited to try this!  I love the addition of currants and caraway seeds – yum! 

  20. I served Irish Soda Bread to my 2nd grade students… they loved it! I can not wait to try this whole wheat version. P.S. I am IRISH!!

    1. Tracy, I love that you make soda bread for your students! Teacher of the year :) I hope you enjoy this whole wheat version just as much and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

  21. Hey, no way is that Irish soda bread! We don’t put sugar in it, or butter for that matter. It can and does sometimes, have added raisins, but even they are not the norm. It is intrinsically a simple peasant bread made with wholewheat flour, wheat bran, buttermilk, a little salt and bicarb of soda. No offence Erin but your recipe sounds like a rich and wholly unauthentic American version..

    1. Hi Polly! Thanks for sharing your concern. I’m certainly not the authority on Irish soda bread (and I hope I didn’t come across as claiming to be!). The Irish soda bread I grew up eating is very similar to the recipe I shared, and I did find many recipes online that were similar too. It’s certainly possible that my and other online recipes are “Americanized”; I honestly don’t have a way to check. I never meant to offend, and if you decide to try this recipe, I do hope you enjoy it! The Irish soda bread you described sounds delicious too.