Irish Brown Soda Bread; PBS Auctions

I have been making this bread every week for the last 20 years or so.

I first started making it around 1992 as that is the copyright date of the cookbook I found the recipe in: “Ireland – Grand Places, Glorious Food Cookbook”.

There are 2 brown soda bread recipes in the book, both ‘traditional’ and almost identical. Both are stir, pour and bake breads using round roasting or baking tins. Neither are a stiff dough and no kneading is required.

My recipe has changed slightly over the years, reflecting the ingredients I have access to. The original recipe calls for bran flakes and buttermilk; I use wheat germ and plain yogurt.

Our daily ritual is to stop whatever we are working on in the early evening, make a pot of tea and relax, watching TV for 90 minutes or so before I start cooking dinner. With the tea we have a bit of brown bread.

I cut the entire loaf in half and freeze one half. The other half lasts us 3 days.

Irish Brown Soda Bread

Total time: 60 minutes


  • 1 1/2 cups (6.4oz, 190gr) whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup (2.25oz, 70gr) white flour
  • 2 heaping tbs oatmeal
  • 1 heaping tbs wheat germ
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 heaping tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup (6oz, 180ml) plain or Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/4 cup (10oz, 300ml) milk   measurements aren’t precise, just equal 2 cups

Irish Brown Soda Bread


  • Preheat the oven to 400F (200C).  
  • Butter and flour the pan. I use an 9″  (25cm) round baking pan with 2″ (5cm) sides for this.
  • Put all dry ingredients into a deep bowl.
  • Add the butter and cut in with a pastry cutter, fork or 2 knives until well blended.
  • Stir the yogurt and milk together, then stir the mixture into the flour and mix well.
  • Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 45 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and tip out of pan on to a wire rack and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes.
  • Slice and serve or allow to cool completely.

Print Recipe

The cookbook features country house and castle hotels of Ireland and recipes from the chefs of the hotel restaurants.

I don’t remember if I bought the cookbook in Ireland – it’s possible as we were there in 1992, or if I bought it on PBS Action Auction.

Does anyone remember Action Auction?

Is PBS still around?

When we lived in the US we watched a lot of shows on PBS. They always had the best documentaries and often had concerts as well.

I don’t remember if they did the traditional fundraising events – the kind with banks of phone operators accepting donations, but I do remember their auctions.

Stuff was donated by various businesses, then auctioned off, live, over the phone during breaks in whatever one was watching.

The auctions were on Saturday night and we watched while having a glass of wine and cooking dinner.

A relaxed atmosphere is conducive to impulse shopping…..

Over the years we bought everything from a PC (yes, a computer) to books to cd’s and dvd’s and I’m sure there were other, more, ahem, esoteric items for the house.

The money went to support something we enjoyed and believed in and it was a lot more fun than just sending a check.

Seems so primitive now…. watching a television while being on the phone (connected by a wire to the wall) to a person placing our bids for us.

Ah….. The good old days….

Try the bread – it’s easy and quick enough to make at the last minute to go with a bowl of chili.

Last update on October 23, 2016

6 thoughts on “Irish Brown Soda Bread; PBS Auctions”

  1. I lived in Cincinnati OH from 2006 until 2014 and they had Action Auction every year on PBS. I LOVED Action Auction! I never won a single thing, but I kept coming back year after year. We moved to NC in 2014. No more Action Auction; so sad.

  2. Yup, they still have their semi-annual fundraising auctions but now, it’s not merchandise of various sorts as much as tiers where you get a mug for $ or a mug and magazine for $$ or a mug, magazine and something a business donated for $$$ and so on. And yes, we too watch PBS though not as much as we used to.

    Is the bread good with any kind of jam or honey on it? I can’t remember as it’s been forever since I had any.

  3. Robin, I loved it too – always fun. I suppose now they just get down to business.

    nightsmusic – like everyone needs another coffee mug…. It’s great with jam, butter, honey, peanut butter, ham, cheese…..

    kate – best thing about it (besides taste) is that it’s so easy!

  4. I could use a slice of your soda bread right now. Yes, PBS is still on and doing fund raisers. We contribute yearly and the fundraisers are usually during old rock star revivals. Watch PBS so much. Cooking shows, “Downton Abbey”, “Poldark”, etc. Best TV there is in my estimation.

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