Recipes, Photography, Musings

Brown Soda Bread With Molasses

This rich, hearty, earthy bread is so satisfying, so delicately flavorful, that you will find yourself enjoying every bite.  With just a few ingredients, it is very easy to make, and you can have a homemade loaf of bread on your table in a little less than an hour.  It’s delicious for breakfast with a little butter or marmalade, or with dinner alongside a bowl of stew or soup.

soda bread with hands 4Sometimes the best things happen as a result of necessity.  I often freak out when life throws me a monkey wrench or a curve ball, but really, often, something good comes of those curve balls.  Discovering this bread recipe was one of those good things.

Yesterday, the kids and I were snowed in with no bread in the house.  After a winter with a relatively small amount of snow (for Michigan anyway), we suddenly got hit with a big snowstorm, and it snowed all day and all night.  My husband went to work amidst snow drifts and howling wind, but the kids had a snow day off of school, and I stayed home with them .  My husband barely got out of our driveway, so I knew I had a lot of shoveling to do before we went anywhere or he got home.  We also lost electricity for a few hours.  My original plans for the day vanished into the winter wind.

soda bread against whiteWhile the kids and I were sitting close to our gas fireplace to stay warm,(thank goodness for that during power outages!), I found the recipe for this tasty bread in a cookbook my mom recently gave me called The Irish Kitchen: 150 Recipes for Everyday Cooking from the Emerald Isle.  As soon as our electricity came back, I made this bread, and then made another loaf this morning.  We had it with soup last night, and with breakfast this morning.  I am really excited about this bread, because everyone in my family likes it, and it is so versatile.  It tastes rustic and homemade, yet only takes around an hour to make, including baking time.  There is just the tiniest hint of sweetness from the molasses.

DSC_0945And after raging for a few minutes about losing electricity for the second time this week due to the weather, I found myself enjoying the quiet time.  My kids and I ate pretzels and pistachios for lunch, sat around the fireplace together, and listened to music on our hand-crank-powered radio.  They went outside and built a fort in the snow, and when they came in, all their wet things dried quickly by the fireplace.  Our power came back within a few hours.  I didn’t get a lot done that day, but had quality time with my kids and made this awesome bread.

I hope you all have a great weekend! soda bread with dogsnowy pines 2I am sharing this recipe with the group of amazing bloggers at Angie’s Fiesta Friday, co-hosted this week by Suzanne @ apuginthekitchen and Zeba @ Food For The Soul.

Brown Soda Bread with Molasses

  • Servings: 1 loaf
  • Print


  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups of whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup of rolled oats
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 and 3/4 cups of buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons of molasses


Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours, oats, salt, and baking soda.  In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and molasses.  If you don’t have buttermilk, substitute with regular milk and a tablespoon of vinegar.  Make a well in the flour mixture, and pour the buttermilk mixture into the well.  Gently stir the mixture together, until well combined.  Using floured hands, form the batter into a soft ball.

Shape the dough into a circle and place it on the lined baking sheet.  Press the ball gently to about 2 inches thick.  With a sharp knife with a long blade, cut a deep cross across the top.

Bake in your 450-degree oven for 15 minutes.  Then reduce the heat to 400 degrees.  Bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, until the bottom of the bread sounds hollow when tapped.

Cool slightly on a wire rack, and slice.  Serve warm.  Also tastes great the next day, warmed up or toasted, or just as is. Enjoy!

This recipe is adapted from The Irish Kitchen: 150 Recipes for Everyday Cooking from the Emerald Isle.




    I always wanted to make this bread for St. Pat’s Day and maybe this year I will. I like the molasses and buttermilk – might be one of the best recipes I have seen 🙂

    • Jenny

      Thank you, Judi. It is really a tasty bread. Happy Fiesta Friday!

  2. apuginthekitchen

    Beautiful bread.

    • Jenny

      Thanks, Suzanne! Hope you have a great weekend, and thanks for co-hosting this week!

  3. Amanda | What's Cooking

    Sounds like a real winter storm and what a resourceful solution! The bread looks delicious and your photos great. This recipe looks foolproof I’ll have to try it. It’s right in time for St. Pattys too!

    • Jenny

      Thanks, Amanda! It does seem to be a foolproof recipe–perfect for times when you need a dependable solution. I love the molasses because of its flavor and it adds moistness. I have always loved St. Patrick’s Day. 🙂 Hope you are having a good weekend!

  4. Heidi

    I really enjoy your recipes. I have Irish roots and celebrate St Pat’s Day by cooking loads of Irish dishes. I plan to make the soda bread this week. Do you know if it would work ok with quick cook oats? (and I just ordered the book you mentioned in the article). Heidi. ?

    • Jenny

      Thank you so much, Heidi! I have not used quick oats in this recipe before (I have used old fashioned rolled oats), but I think they would work fine. I think you will really like this cookbook if you like Irish cooking. I recently made the potato cabbage pie recipe from it, and it was really tasty too!

  5. Linda

    Looks delicious! Love the little doggie looking on – did he get a bite? Thanks for sharing on Fiesta Friday 🙂 🙂

    • Jenny

      Thanks Linda–haha, no the doggie did not get a bite, but he sure wanted one! 🙂 He hangs around a lot when I am photographing food, and often photobombs! 🙂 Sometimes he does get a bite though, if he’s quick enough. 🙂

  6. tentimestea

    What a beautiful bread! The molasses gave it a lovely colour. I can imagine how well appreciated it must have been on that snowy day! I really love how quickly soda bread comes together–I will keep this in mind next time I want some freshly made bread 🙂

    • Jenny

      Thank you very much! Yes, I was impressed how easy it was to make, considering how hearty and great it tasted!

  7. Julie is Hostess At Heart

    Wow Jenny this is one beautiful loaf of bread. I just love the sound of the slight sweetness from the molasses. Sometimes the best times are when you just accept what is and enjoy it instead of fretting over things you can’t change. Those kids will remember this a a great time with their mom.

    • Jenny

      Thanks Julie–I love the molasses too. And that is one the biggest challenges in life I think–the figure out what we can and can’t change, and then accept what we can’t change. Sometimes the best things come out of things we cannot change, and then looking back, would not have changed even if we could have. 🙂

  8. Debbie Spivey

    Oh bread! I opened up a jar of molasses for my sloppy joes this weekend, this would be perfect to use up some of the rest. 🙂

    • Jenny

      Yes, it would be a good excuse to use some of that molasses. 🙂 Hope you are feeling well, Debbie!

      • Debbie Spivey

        Thanks for the well wishes. I am well and it feels good. Have a great week!

  9. CakePants

    First of all: homemade bread in under an hour?! I’m super intrigued/impressed. Second: that sounds like an unexpected yet lovely day, to have time with your kids, pretty snow outside, and homemade bread on the table! But I also agree that this winter has been quite strange and unpredictable. We got a bunch of snow last week (more than in previous weeks), it all melted by yesterday, and then this morning I woke up to find more snow…

    • Jenny

      Thank you! Yes, it has been a strange winter. Now that it is March 1st, I am looking forward to spring! 🙂 Stay safe on the ice out there!

  10. Signe

    I’m truly sorry to say it but this was really bad. I’m an experienced cook and measured my fresh ingredients carefully. When I got to “form a soft ball” I knew I was in trouble because the dough was really dry. As was the finished result. My arthritic wrists prevent me from kneading the more usual brown bread to serve with my baked beans and I was really hopeful that this would be the solution. it wasn’t.

    • Jenny

      I am sorry that the bread did not work out for you. I have made it several times, and it has turned out well. Others have told me it turned out well for them also. I checked to make sure I wrote the recipe correctly, since I adapted it from a recipe in the cookbook I mentioned in the post, and the amounts of the ingredients are correct. I am sorry it caused you frustration.

      • Signe

        Thank you, Jenny. My husband actually enjoyed the flavour so maybe I’ll try it again, maybe with a smidge less flour or a little more buttermilk. The “circle” wasn’t soft enough to require flouring my hands and I had trouble actually making it hold together. Any other suggestions?

      • Jenny

        That sounds like a good idea to try a little less flour and a bit more buttermilk. I find that sometimes the texture of different flours makes baked goods turn out differently. Whole wheat flour is trickier to bake with as far as getting dough to hold together. I don’t know if that’s what you used, but in any case, I wonder if trying a different flour would make the dough less dry. I like King Arthur flours, and I use the all-purpose flour for this bread. I hope that helps!

  11. Monique

    I ran across this recipe while searching for something else. I immediately put it together and am eating my first slice as I type. Wow, this is so good! I did fail to make deep enough cuts, but still looks beautiful and has an amazing texture and taste.

    • Jenny

      Hi Monique, I’m so glad you are enjoying the bread! It’s one of my favorites. Thanks for letting me know!😀

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