Granny Barron’s Irish Wheaten Bread

newly baked wheaten bread

Starting a series of World Kitchen recipes, Sam Barron passes on a family treat:

The recipe was never written down. Over generations the technique was simply a handful of this and a pinch of that.  Then one of Granny Barron’s daughters watched her mother as she made some bread.  She carefully measured the quantities and came up with a recipe that gets close to how it tasted when her Mum made it.

It doesn’t just taste good, the family has reason to believe the bread has life-enhancing qualities: Granny Barron lived until she was almost 102 and each of her seven children are advancing towards a reasonably healthy old age.

But the measurements don’t have to be followed too closely. Part of the fun of making wheaten bread is making slight alterations and then waiting – with expectation – to taste the results.

Try it, enjoy it and hopefully live to a ripe old age.


1lb (500 g) plain flour

1lb (500 g) coarse wholemeal flour

4oz (112 g) sugar

40z (125 g) hard margarine or butter

3 to 4 tsp baking soda

2 tsp salt

1.25 pts buttermilk

NB (buttermilk can be difficult to find and expensive to buy, instead you can mix 1.25 pts milk with 3 tablespoons vinegar. Or even mix milk and yoghurt)


Sieve the dry ingredients, rub in the margarine or butter, add buttermilk or its substitute.

Mix and turn dough on to one floured tray or three greased 1lb tins.

Bake at 375°F or 190°C for 20 to 30 minutes until golden brown.

Wrap in a clean cloth to avoid hardening as the bread cools.

If you have not experienced fried white Soda Bread as part of an Ulster Fry or have not yet accompanied a pint of Guinness with smoked salmon on Wheaten Bread, or had a cup of strong tea with warm freshly baked Wheaten bread doused in lashings of salty butter – well, you have still to live!

7 thoughts on “Granny Barron’s Irish Wheaten Bread”

  1. Thank you Sam for Granny Barron’s recipe. And thank you Celia for making such delicious Irish Wheaten bread for the World Kitchen in Leith festival dinner at Out of the Blue in August.

    Should add that the photograph is not your bread but our first attempt from Granny B’s recipe. Not as good as yours but not bad, not bad at all.

  2. Thanks Dougal! Another eagle eye also spotted the typo but the correction must have melted away…will put that right pronto (and you do indeed get good butter in Leith).

  3. Any chance of including Ethiopian Injera bread in any of those recipes? Oh, and if you ever have an Ethiopian food night I will recruit for you like crazy! I love Ethiopian food and my description of Edinburgh to people always includes ‘You can find one of everything here that covers one area of London, except bloomin Ethiopian food!’

  4. Thanks Dann, will contact our good friends at Africa Centre Scotland to track down a reciple.
    Other ideas are tweeting in – Almondvale on Twitter suggests we include a recipe for pumpernickel bread (they’re just about to make scrambled egg and smoked salmon for lunch). Don’t think we can produce one quickly enough (sour dough takes time) but we have just found one in the Village Bakery bread book so will have a go as soon as possible.

  5. I just finished making this Wheaten bread it really is excellent bread its like my grannys from my childhood memorys. the whole family loves it

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