Sourdough Irish Brown Bread

Sourdough Irish Brown Bread is hearty and savory because it’s made with whole wheat flour and a cup of sourdough discard. It’s easy to make and super tasty.

a loaf of sourdough irish brown bread on a table

If you don’t already have one, I can show you how to make a sourdough starter and how to feed a sourdough starter.

If you don’t have a starter, you can make traditional Irish Brown Bread, traditional Irish Soda bread or Oatmeal Apricot Soda Bread.

Recipe Ingredients

  • Whole wheat flour
  • Unbleached all purpose flour 
  • Salt
  • Granulated sugar
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Butter 
  • Egg
  • Buttermilk
  • Sourdough Discard (100% hydration)

How to make Sourdough Irish Brown Bread:

two side by side photos showing how to mix sourdough irish brown bread
  • Mix the sourdough discard with the buttermilk.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.
two side by side photos showing how to mix brown bread
  • Mix in the bowl until a “shaggy” dough is formed.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead briefly to bring the dough together.
two photos showing how to shape irish brown bread
  • Form the dough into a ball.
  • Cut a deep “X” on the top of the loaf, brush with buttermilk and bake.

Tips for making Sourdough Irish Brown Bread:

  • This dough is so easy to make you don’t need to use a mixer. Mixing by hand helps ensure that you won’t over work and toughen the dough. 
  • The “riper” your sourdough discard, the more tangy flavor you get in the loaf.
  • Cutting a deep X in the top of the loaf before it goes in the oven ensures that it will rise evenly without splitting in random places.
  • Sourdough Brown Bread is best the day it’s baked. Leftovers can be frozen, then defrosted and reheated.
a slice of irish brown bread on a green towel
a piece of irish brown bread on a plate with marmalade

Looking for more Irish inspired recipes?

I know you hate to throw away that sourdough discard. Check out these recipes that use sourdough discard.

Since you’ve got your starter fed, peruse the entire list of My Best Sourdough Recipes. Have fun!

If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.

a slice of irish brown bread with butter on a plate
Print Recipe
5 from 15 reviews

Sourdough Irish Brown Bread Recipe

Sourdough Irish Brown Bread is hearty and savory because it’s made with whole wheat flour and a cup of sourdough discard. It's super easy to make and super tasty.
Prep Time30 minutes
Bake Time45 minutes
Total Time1 hour 15 minutes
24 servings
Save Recipe


  • 10 oz whole wheat flour (2 cups, see note)
  • 2 ½ oz all purpose flour (½ cup )
  • ½ oz granulated sugar (1 tablespoon)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 oz unsalted butter (2 tablespoons, room temperature)
  • 1 egg (room temperature)
  • 8 oz buttermilk (1 cup)
  • 8 oz sourdough discard (1 cup)


  • Preheat oven to 375 °F. Line a ½ sheet pan with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Add the butter and work in with your fingers until fully incorporated and there are no lumps larger than a pea.
    10 oz whole wheat flour, 2 ½ oz all purpose flour, ½ oz granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon baking soda, 1 oz unsalted butter
  • Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Combine the egg, buttermilk and sourdough discard and pour into the well. Mix gently with a wooden spoon until it forms a shaggy dough and most of the buttermilk is incorporated.
    1 egg, 8 oz buttermilk, 8 oz sourdough discard
  • Turn onto a floured surface and knead about 15-20 times until combined. Form the dough into a large round ball. Place the dough onto the parchment lined sheet pan and flatten the top a bit.
  • Using a sharp knife or a single edge razor blade cut a ½-¾" deep X shape across the top of the loaf. Brush the top of the loaf with buttermilk. Bake for 40-50 minutes until it is golden brown and the internal temperature is 200 °F.

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If measuring the flour by volume use the “dip & sweep” method. That is, dip the measuring cup into the flour bin, overfill it, then sweep away the excess.


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 79kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Trans Fat: 0.04g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 150mg | Potassium: 62mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 56IU | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 1mg
Have you tried this recipe?Mention @eileen.bakingsense or tag #bakingsense!


  1. 5 stars
    An excellent brown bread! The sourdough keeps in moist but otherwise it takes like the classic Irish brown bread. Quick, easy, delicious!

  2. First day nice and moist. Loved it later that day it gets like more bisket. Can I purchase more starter or butter to help this. 1 hour sourdough bread my other recipe is 19 hrs. Can u go 100% white flour?
    Thanks Ron

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