Baking in Ireland is a tradition and trade that goes back centuries. It’s not uncommon for an Irish household to be filled with the aroma of bread rising, or for an Irish person to offer you a slice from a freshly baked loaf over a cup of tea.
Bread is, without a doubt, a leading part of Irish culture—alongside traditional music, Guinness, and an aptitude for the arts (think James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, etc.)—and it should be tasted, if not devoured, when visiting the Emerald Isle.
Here are the top nine traditional Irish breads you need to taste when visiting Ireland. Your taste buds will thank you.
Our mouths are already watering at the thought of this pancake-style bread. The traditional Irish recipe consists of flour, baking soda, and buttermilk (and sometimes eggs), alongside our national vegetable, of course: potato.
Often referred to as “Poundy” or potato bread, this Irish delicacy is most commonly associated with counties such as Donegal, Fermanagh, and Longford.
Should you be visiting Dublin, make sure to stop by Gallaghers Boxty House in the Temple Bar area to try this popular Irish bread.
8. Veda bread
Veda bread is a scrumptious type of traditional bread exclusively sold in Northern Ireland. The malted bread has been around for over a century, and still today there is no source of an exact recipe for it.
Still, however, bakers in the North of Ireland offer this popular bread, which has a sweet flavour and caramel colour.
This Irish bread is most commonly associated with Dublin city. The bread shares similarities with batch loaf, although it has a boot-like shape.
Turnover bread is baked for longer than its sister breads in a bid to seal in the flavor, and it is also preservative-free. This Irish bread gets its name from the way the mix is “folded” (or “turned over”).
6. Barmbrack bread
Barmbrack bread is a traditional Irish bread often associated with Halloween. This yeasted sweet bread is bountiful with fruits, raisins and sultanas.
Often served toasted with butter (alongside a cup of Irish tea), Barmbrack bread strikes a balance of sweetness between cake and regular dough. Yum!
5. Potato bread or farl
Often enjoyed at breakfast time, potato bread (or a potato farl) is one of the top traditional Irish breads you need to taste.
You can make this delectable treat by either baking it or frying it in a pan, and it is commonly cut in triangular shapes and served alongside other breakfast foods.
The blaa bun is anything but “blah”—we promise you! This soft white bread roll with a flour dusting originated in County Waterford in the 17th century.
Still today popular around the country, blaa buns are often served at breakfast with butter or at lunch with a filling, though they can also accompany soup or a salad.
Blaa buns were awarded Protected Geographical Indication in 2013, making them one of Ireland’s most famous types of bread.
3. Batch loaf
Batch loaf is one of the most common traditional Irish breads, and it’s as popular today as ever.
Served in most sandwich shops as well as in supermarkets across the country, this type of Irish bread is characterised by its tall height and golden-brown, crusty head and base.
There is no crust on the sides, as batches are stuck together during the baking process and only broken into individual loaves once removed from the oven.
2. Fruit soda bread
When it comes to traditional Irish breads you need to taste, fruit soda bread is a must. The base for this bread is typically white soda bread, with raisins, sultanas, or dates added.
Like barmbrack bread, fruit soda bread is typically served toasted with butter and is less sweet than cake but sweeter than a standard loaf.
1. Irish wheaten (brown soda) bread
Irish wheaten or brown soda bread has got to be the most common, and arguably most delicious, type of traditional Irish bread in existence. Finding its way into every home on the island of Ireland, this centuries-old recipe produces a dark, textured bread that can be offered in a range of settings.
Irish wheaten bread can be served at breakfast time with butter and jams or marmalade. It is also commonly served with butter alongside soup. That said, it’s so tasty that you might crave a slice on its own!