Irish Brown Bread (Small Batch)

Irish Brown bread

As I’ve mentioned elsewhere in this blog, I’m downsizing in my kitchen. As much as possible, I’ll make a small batch of something, because most of the time I’m cooking for only two people. This Irish brown bread (small batch) is perfect for us.

It has become my go-to bread! Thanks to the Ballymaloe Cookery School (in Ballymaloe Ireland, it’s high on my want-to-visit list!) and noted blogger/baker David Lebovitz, I have a recipe for a single loaf of brown bread.

It’s delicious, and it’s quick: I can stir it up in 5 minutes and be eating it an hour later. It’s healthy: it can use whole grain flour that I mill myself, with a MockMill attachment for my stand mixer. (Yes, of course you can use regular whole wheat flour!) It’s easy: there’s no kneading at all. I stir it up with a spoon or a dough whisk. And did I say it’s delicious? It’s absolutely delicious.

Give this one a try. If you don’t grind your own wheat, make it anyway! Irish wholemeal flour is coarser than our standard whole wheat flour, so you might want to substitute some wheat germ for a bit of the flour – go ahead, try it out. Here’s an indulgence that is actually good for you.

Irish Brown bread

Irish Brown Bread

Course: Bread
Cuisine: Irish
Keyword: brown bread, wholemeal, whole wheat, molasses
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 1 loaf
Single loaf - batter bread (no kneading)
Print Recipe


  • 400 g whole wheat flour
  • 50 g all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 ½ tsp instant dry yeast
  • 425 ml water warmish
  • 1 tbsp dark molasses


  • Mix the flours with the salt and the instant yeast in a medium bowl. Add the molasses to the warm water, then add the liquid mixture to the flours, and stir until a thick sludgy batter is formed. I like to use my dough whisk for this, it makes the job easier, and it goes quickly.
    The batter should be the consistency of porridge. Let the bowl of dough stand for 10 minutes or so, while you get the pan ready.
  • Scrape the dough into the prepared bread pan, and smooth the top. If it’s very sticky, wet your hand with water and simply pat the top of the loaf into shape. Drape a clean kitchen towel lightly over the top, and let the dough rise in a warm place 20 minutes or so, until the dough just peeks over the edges of the pan. Preheat the oven to 450˚F / 230˚C.
  • When the dough is just barely over the edges of the pan, remove the towel (of course!) and bake the bread for 20 minutes.
  • After 20 minutes, turn the heat down to 400˚F / 200˚C. Take the bread out of the oven temporarily, run a knife along the edges of the loaf pan to free the bread, and tip the loaf out of the pan. Put the loaf upside-down on right on the oven rack, and let it bake another 15 minutes, or until the bread is done.
  • Done, for this bread, means that the loaf will sound hollow when you tap the bottom, or, if you’re using an instant-read thermometer, the temperature at the center should read 190˚F/88˚C. Let the bread cool on a wire rack.


Thanks to David Lebovitz for his fine post on Ballymaloe’s bread. Check out his photos! I know he’d be happy that this bread has become a staple in my family’s kitchen. 


  1. This came out fantastic, I was low on whole wheat flour, so I used 300g of that, 100g of bread flour, and the 50g of AP called for. It seemed a bit dry so I incrementally used about 75ml more water called for, and I had Swedish Light Syrup on hand so used that instead of molasses. It came together and baked up beautifully!

  2. Bonnie Wilensky

    The bread is delicious and so easy to make. Thanks. It’s becoming a favorite

  3. Sounds good Maurita. I will give it a try. Merry Christmas. Judi

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I’m Maurita Plouff, and I write about cooking and preserving the local harvest in Southeast Michigan. Any recipe you find here is something I have cooked myself, and enjoyed, and think you might like too. I invite you to try the recipes, and leave comments.

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