Brown Soda Bread and Homemade Butter ~ it doesn’t get any more elemental than this…with a few simple ingredients and a little bit of time you can make two of the world’s most important foods from scratch. 

I think one of the charms of these recipes is how quick and easy they are.  You don’t need to do any advance planning or prep work to have hot bread and fresh butter on the table for dinner.  This soda bread is really close to being a biscuit or a scone; the only difference is that it doesn’t have the rich butter content.  Think of it as a more healthy alternative to a biscuit… either that or a really good excuse to slather on lots of butter to make up the difference!

My previous experience with soda bread was not good.  I last made it years and years ago, probably with white flour, and it was unimpressive, so I never touched it again.  But I think here the whole wheat flour makes a difference.  As does really good butter.  This is not fancy or highly flavored bread, it’s a basic food for hungry people.  If you make it right before dinner and serve it hot out of the oven, it’s wonderful.

This bread is as easy as weighing your flour, whisking in the soda and salt, and pouring in the buttermilk.

You don’t even really knead it, more like push it around on a floured counter just till it just holds together.

Slash a big X across the top and you’re ready to go.

*This recipe is from Darina Allen

Brown Soda Bread and Homemade Butter


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (about 9 ounces)
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (about 9 1/2 ounces) (I used 18 1/2 oz of white whole wheat flour)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • (I snuck in a Tbsp of brown sugar)
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 cups heavy cream


  1. Set oven to 450F
  2. Weigh out your flour or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Make a well in center of mixture. Add buttermilk to flour mixture; stir until blended (dough will be sticky). Turn dough out onto a generously floured surface; knead lightly 4 to 5 times.
  3. Shape dough into an 8-inch round loaf; place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Cut a 1/4-inch-deep X in the top of the dough.
  4. Bake at 450F for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 400° (do not remove bread from oven); bake 15 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack.
  5. To make the butter, put the heavy cream in a bowl and beat it as you would for whipped cream. Only keep beating. As you go, you will reach the regular whipped cream stage, then it will go beyond that into a kind of overly thick stage, and finally into a seperated state of curds and whey. Add a sprinkling of salt at this time.
  6. Drain the butter in a cheesecloth lined strainer for a few minutes, and then pick up the cheesecloth and squeeze out as much liquid as you can from the butter. That leftover liquid is buttermilk, save it to make scones!
  7. Transfer the butter into a container, smooth it down, and store.


  • Don’t overwork the bread, the dough is meant to be shaggy.
  • Brown bread is best hot out of the oven, so go ahead, don’t be shy!



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29 Responses to Brown Soda Bread and Homemade Butter

  1. […] Brown Soda Bread and Homemade Butter- The View from Great […]

  2. Sue, Darina is definitely the queen of Irish cooking, possibly in the same way as Martha is (or was!) in the US and Delia is in the UK. She has spent her whole life championing local, fresh, in-season food and bringing us back to “the land” in terms of reducing our reliance on processed food to fresh organic food. One of the most well respected chefs and authors in Ireland – and rightly so!

  3. Erin says:

    This bread looks absolutely delicious! I’ve never made soda bread before, but it looks so lovely and simple that I am definitely going to have to try it soon!

  4. Hungry Dog says:

    I have a lot of buttermilk to use up, this bread is going to make an appearance in our house very soon!

  5. Taryn (Have Kitchen, Will Feed) says:

    I love this – basic food for basic people.

  6. Victoria says:

    soda bread needs to be wholemeal or a mixture I think, and this looks heavenly! And…how amazing are you making your own butter??? Have a great weekend x

  7. Magnolia Verandah says:

    I have read about Darina and her daughter in law some years ago. What wonderful bread and butter. Thanks for the inspiration as always.

  8. bellini says:

    This recipe definitely symbolizes all that Ms. Allen represents. Wouldn’t we all love to bake it in her ovens in her cooking school in the Irish countryside.

  9. Veronica Gantley says:

    I think your bead looks much better than mine. I will have to try my hand at making butter. I am so glad we are doing this game changer series together.

  10. Looks delicious! I haven’t made soda bread since I was a little kid and I’ve mostly been focusing on yeasted breads, but I should definitely try this.

    I found that although white whole wheat is good for replacing white flour in things like cookies, it makes bread with a flavor that is neither as complex nor as pleasurable as red whole wheat (although, obviously, red whole wheat produces a heavier, slightly bitter loaf without a sweetener). Did you find that you liked the taste of the white whole wheat in the soda bread?

  11. Sue, seriously drooling here!! tI have always wanted to try making soda bread, love the ease of this recipe…anf the homemade butter, divine! so easy and I bet the flavor is fresh. great pics!

  12. Bryan says:

    Amazing, never thought of making my own butter. I will try it for sure! Thanks. :)

  13. I want a big hunk of that gorgeous soda bread with some homemade butter for slathering on heavily. Looks amazing, Sue!!

  14. BeetleBuggy says:

    Hah! I never knew that’s how buttermilk’s made. I’m sure Darina would’ve pooh-poohed me and given me a little figurative slap on the wrist for not being aware of such basics. But, it sure is fun to learn like this because I get to drool at pictures at the same time.

  15. Barbara says:

    Wonderful write up Sue! Fun that so many of us made soda breads…and they all look different. Love the butter you are so clever! What could be better than homemade butter with hot from the oven soda bread??

  16. Kathy says:

    Sue, Such a wonderful post! Your bread looks perfectly beautiful! The butter looks so soft and creamy! I’m seeing beautiful breads all over the web today and they have inspired me! My grandson just asked this week if we could make butter…I sent a link for your blog to my daughter-in-law. You made it look so easy. Have a great weekend!

  17. Mary says:

    I love the instructions for making butter :-). The bread also sounds wonderful and I really liked the way you presented her biography. Have a wonderful weekend. Blessings…Mary

  18. Susan—I completely agree, the soda bread was best warm from the oven. I gnawed on a piece of it this morning and it just wasn’t the same. I think we Americans are just too used to rich breads to be able to appreciate it!

  19. Mireya—I should have weighed it, and now 1/2 of it’s gone ;) I think I got about the equivalent of a stick of butter, so that would be 4 oz, maybe a bit more. Worth it, though, for guests, or to do with kids.

  20. Mary says:

    This sounds good right now. With a bowl of thick chowder, I’d be in heaven. Plenty of butter is always my requirement with soda bread. :)

  21. Mary says:

    This sounds good right now. With a bowl of thick chowder, I’d be in heaven. Plenty of butter is always my requirement with soda bread. :)

  22. Now you know why soda bread is my favourite, it’s fantastic to bake, even after a day at work.
    In Brittany we never eat a lobster or crab without soda bread, and it’s great with fish pates and smoked salmon.
    I’m a great fan of Darina Allen, and her daughter in law Rachel, both are inspiring cooks and I’d love to go and take a course there sometime. Jude x

  23. Totally impressed with you and the bread and butter post! Your rustic brown soda bread is just a thing of beauty! I always think soda bread is best eaten right up while it’s warm. Mine never keeps well, even if I dress it up with raisins or currants.

    Making the butter was such a neat addition to this nod to Darina Allen! Great post!

  24. What a hearty and tasty looking loaf. And, I love your homemade butter as well.

  25. Jeanette says:

    What a nice simple rustic bread to honor Darina Allen by. Lovely write up.

  26. What a great post about Darina and I loved the butter making tutorial. Did you actually get 8 ounces of butter from 2 cups of cream?

  27. We loved Ireland and want to go back one day. I could actually live on bread and butter. Your’s look incredible. You really know how to make me happy with such posts! I am so interested in making butter, ok and eating butter :) Have a lovely weekend!

  28. Alyce says:

    Well, we made almost the same thing, though my whole wheat to white flour ratio is 3 to 1. My white soda bread is shaped like your brown and I do love that shape, though the loaf is a bit easier to use for sandwiches. The butter, which I made by mistake once, is great and you caught the process perfectly.
    Thanks, Sue!

  29. This is wonderful learning about his farm in Ireland. I think of our trip every single day and how much I would love to wander those little country lanes again and eat brown bread at every meal with some sort of fish stew. Sigh…sigh again…Your bread looks so delicious. I love the heartiness of a heavier bread.

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