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Irish Brown Bread

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Irish Brown Bread

Irish Brown Bread? Really? Isn’t this supposed to be a WW-friendly blog? Well, yes, it is. Bread can be a wholesome, healthy part of a balanced meal plan especially if you keep to whole grains. Whole grain bread contains more vitamins, nutrients, and fiber than bread made with “degerminated” wheat. This whole-grain bread is a quick bread, not a yeast bread. It only takes 10 minutes to mix it up and get it into the oven. You can have a fresh loaf of warm bread ready in less than one hour!

Irish Brown Bread

What is a Quick Bread?

This bread is a quick bread. A quick bread made with a leavening agent such as baking powder or baking soda, or both instead of yeast that allows for immediate baking. No proofing or rising is required and the bread can go immediately into the oven.  Other examples of quick bread include biscuits, muffins, and this Golden Fruit and Nut Cake.

When everyone fell in love with making sourdough bread last year during the pandemic, I veered off into the other pandemic project: fermentation. I’ve actually been making sourdough on and off for years. I like making bread, but frankly, “the juice isn’t always worth the squeeze.”

On a day-to-day basis, I use Dave’s Killer Bread for morning toast and sandwiches. Multi-hour or multi-day bread projects don’t currently work with my present work and life situation. (Fermentation on the other hand just kinda sits on the shelf until it’s funky enough to eat.)

Irish Brown Bread

Brown Bread vs Soda Bread

This project started because I had a lot of buttermilk to use, not St. Patrick’s Day – but what a happy coincidence.  Irish Brown Bread is a little less well-known than Irish Soda Bread. While both are quick breads, Irish Brown Bread has a hearty texture, dense crumb, and craggy, crunchy crust. Made with whole wheat flour, it fits the bill when it comes to healthy and wholesome. (Irish Soda Bread is typically made with white all-purpose flour and while it certainly is good, it’s not quite as good for you as the whole grain bread.)

Irish Brown Bread

Whole Wheat Flour

We hear all the time about how “whole grains are good for you.” Why is that? Whole grain wheat has the nutritious germ and bran intact. All-purpose flour is more refined and has had the bran and germ removed. The germ is the part of the wheat berry that sprouts to grow into a new plant and is the healthiest part of the wheat berry. The bran is the hard outer layer of the wheat kernel, which is packed with various nutrients and fiber.

Irish Brown Bread

Irish Flour is whole grain or whole wheat flour coarsely ground from red whole wheat. It’s a bit more coarse than regular whole wheat flour. Most recipes sub out 1 cup of the Irish-style whole wheat flour for all-purpose flour for Irish Brown Bread. However, I wanted a bread that could be made fairly quickly – without any special ingredients so I decided to give it a try with “regular” American whole wheat flour. I love it! The whole wheat makes it seem more like a yeast bread.  This recipe produces a loaf that is crispy and toothsome with a nutty, tender crumb.

Irish Brown Bread

I certainly hope you enjoy this bread as much as I have. It comes in at roughly 2 WW blue points a slice! Now, that Irish butter on the other hand…


Fresh Start

I am THRILLED to share with you my new E-book, Fresh Start: Cooking with Virginia My Real Life Daily Guide to Healthy Eating and Weight Loss. (It’s also available in paperback as a print on demand.) It’s my real-life guide of 20 go-to dishes that take can you through the day with easy recipes and “non-recipes” for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.

I have been absolutely floored by the response to my 60+ pound weight loss and so many of the questions have been about my regular “everyday” eating — not recipes in a book or on this blog, but questions about what I eat for lunch and snacking. Well, here it is! I hope you like it. And, it’s Volume One — so my plan is to do one of these every season if y’all like it.

Bon Appétit, Y’all

Virginia Willis

Irish Brown Bread

Irish Brown Bread

Makes 24 slices 2 WW blue points each
Course: Appetizer, bread, Snack
Cuisine: American, irish, Southern
Keyword: brown bread, Irish Brown Bread, whole wheat bread
Author: Virginia Willis


  • 4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil like sunflower


  • Heat the oven to 400°F. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Add buttermilk and oil. Stir to combine. Turn out onto a clean work surface and knead a few times until it holds together. Shape into a ball and place in a skillet or on a baking sheet. Slice a deep cross into the loaf. Bake until brown and an instant read digital thermometer reads 200°-205°F. Remove the loaf to a rack to cool slightly, at least 10 minutes before slicing. When ready to serve slice into pieces with a serrated knife. Store in a sealable airtight container for up to 4 days.

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Virginia Willis

Georgia-born French-trained Chef Virginia Willis’ biography includes making chocolate chip cookies with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, foraging for berries in the Alaskan wilderness, harvesting capers in the shadow of a smoldering volcano in Sicily, and hunting for truffles in France. She is talent and chef-instructor for the digital streaming platform Food Network Kitchen. Her segments feature authentic and innovative Southern cooking. She was the celebrity chef at the Mansion at Churchill Downs for the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby. Virginia has spoken at SXSW, cooked for the James Beard Foundation, and beguiled celebrities such as Bill Clinton, Morgan Freeman, and Jane Fonda with her cooking — but it all started in her grandmother’s country kitchen. Recently, her work has been inspired by her weight loss success story, Virginia has lost 65# and kept it off for over 1 1/2 years! “If a French-trained, Southern chef can do it, you can, too.” She is the author of Fresh Start; Secrets of the Southern Table; Lighten Up, Y’all; Bon Appétit, Y’all; Basic to Brilliant, Y’all; Okra; and Grits. Lighten Up, Y’all won a James Beard Foundation Award of Excellence in the Focus on Health Category. Lighten Up, Y’all as well as her first cookbook, Bon Appétit, Y’all, were finalists in the Best American Cookbook for the International Association of Cookbook Awards and were also named by the Georgia Center of the Book as “Books Georgians Should Read.” She is the former TV kitchen director for Martha Stewart Living, Bobby Flay, and Nathalie Dupree; has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants; and traveled the world producing food stories – from making cheese in California to escargot farming in France. She has appeared on Food Network’s Chopped, CBS This Morning, Fox Family and Friends, Martha Stewart Living, and as a judge on Throwdown with Bobby Flay. She’s been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, People Magazine, Eater, and Food52 and has contributed to Eating Well, GRLSQUASH, Culture, Garden & Gun, and Bon Appétit, and more. The Chicago Tribune praised her as one of “Seven Food Writers You Need to Know.” Her legion of fans loves her down-to-earth attitude, approachable spirit, and traveling exploits. Her culinary consulting company, Virginia Willis Culinary Enterprises, Inc specializes in content creation, recipe development, culinary editorial and production services, cookbook writing, media training, spokesperson and brand representation, and public speaking. Virginia is on the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Blue Ribbon Task Force, the Atlanta Community Food Bank Advisory Board, as well as the Community Farmers Market Advisory Board. She is a food and hunger advocate for No Kid Hungry and a premier member of the No Kid Hungry Atlanta Society. She a member of The James Beard Foundation, Chef’s Collaborative, Georgia Organics, and Southern Foodways Alliance.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Anonymous

    Hi, VW! I am so going to make this! Have organic red wheat grains I mill into flour and this is the perfect recipe for it as a quick bread.
    THANKS from Mableton 🤗!

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