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Irish Guinness Brown Bread Recipe

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This moist Guinness brown bread, or wheaten bread, is a typical Irish bread with a hearty texture made with whole-meal flour, oats, and Guinness stout.

sliced loaf of irish wheaten bread on the table.

Flavorful, savory, and fully satisfying Irish Guinness brown bread to celebrate St.Patrick’s Day! This is an easy-to-make loaf of whole-wheat bread that your whole family will love.

What is Irish brown bread?

A typical Irish bread leavened with baking soda instead of yeast. This brown bread, made with whole wheat flour, oats, and treacle (molasses), is a close relative of Irish soda bread, made with white flour.

Originally, brown bread was made with buttermilk, but today’s Guinness bread recipe with stout has recently gained much popularity. Like buttermilk, stout beer is acidic and reacts with baking soda. But, in addition to that, Guinness imparts this Irish bread with a malty, nutty flavor that’s exquisite.

So, the Guinness beer quick bread has a deep, savory, very slightly sweet flavor, and it’s just perfect for breakfast or to dunk into a hot bowl of Irish Lamb Stew.

Check out more delicious Irish loaves of bread: our popular Sweet Irish Soda Bread or this Easy Irish Soda Bread with Yogurt.

Recipe ingredients

listed ingredients for making irish bread with stout and whole wheat.
  • Wholemeal flour: For the most genuine results, use coarse whole meal flour or stoneground whole wheat flour in the US.
  • Oats: In Ireland, you would use porridge oats. They are similar to old-fashioned oats, also called rolled oats. Don’t use steel cut oats for this recipe; they take longer to cook and absorb less water, affecting the loaf’s consistency.
    • You will need oats for the dough, ½ Tbsp for sprinkling the bottom of the baking pan, and ½ Tbsp for spreading over the dough before baking.
  • Brown sugar: It adds just a hint of sweetness.
  • Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) as the leavening agent and fine sea salt or Kosher salt.
  • Butter: Irish butter or another full-fat butter. You will need some for the dough and a little knob for greasing the loaf pan.
  • Treacle: You can use molasses instead. If you live in Germany, use Zuckerrübensirup.
  • Beer: Guinness or another stout beer (See Expert Tips). It’s used instead of regular buttermilk and has the same effect on the dough. You can, of course, replace it with buttermilk, but the flavor and color of the bread will be slightly different.

How to make Irish Guinness brown bread?

  • Preheat the oven; grease a loaf pan and sprinkle its bottom with oats.
  • Melt butter and treacle in a small pan (1). Set aside.
  • Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl: flour, oats, brown sugar, salt, and baking soda (2).
collage of two pictures of melted butter and treacle and wholemeal flour in a bowl.
  • Combine wet ingredients: Stir stout beer into the melted butter mixture (3).
  • Make the dough: Pour the liquid ingredients over the flour mixture and stir well to combine. Use a wooden spoon (4).
  • Transfer mixture to the prepared loaf pan and sprinkle the top of the bread with the remaining oats (5).
collage of two pictures of butter mixed with stout and dough for brown bread.
unbaked dough for brown bread in a loaf pan.
  • Bake the Irish brown bread for 50 minutes. Then, remove it from the pan and bake it on the baking rack for another 5 to 10 minutes. When done, it should sound hollow when tapped on the underside.
  • Cool: Wrap it in a clean tea towel, and let it cool on a wire rack before slicing.

Expert Tips

  • The most important tip: Always use a digital kitchen scale in baking; it guarantees for best results (Amazon affiliate link).
  • Guinness: You will need 400 ml/ 13.5 oz stout beer for this recipe. A regular-sized bottle contains 330ml/ 11 oz beer; one can usually contains 350 ml/ 12 oz. If you don’t want to open a second container (and drink the rest), replace the missing amount with buttermilk or yogurt.
    • 1 small bottle of stout (330 ml) + 70 ml/ 2.4 fl. oz/ 1/3 cup buttermilk or yogurt
    • 1 can of stout (350 ml) + 50 ml/ 1.7 fl. oz/ ¼ cup buttermilk or yogurt
    • If you do open a second can or bottle to use for the dough, check out more recipes containing Guinness: Dutch Oven Irish Stew and The Best Braised Pork Cheek Recipe.
  • Don’t overmix the batter, and don’t leave it waiting after stirring. Stir it quickly; you should be ready in about 30 seconds or less. The baking soda will start reacting immediately, and if you leave the dough waiting, the bread will not rise properly.
whole loaf of irish brown bread with oats and guinness.

Recipe FAQ

What’s the difference between Irish soda bread and Irish brown bread?

A traditional Irish soda bread recipe is made with white flour, while brown bread is made with whole wheat.

What’s the difference between black treacle and molasses?

They are both syrups, and you can use both for making this stout beer bread. However, molasses is cooked longer; it’s thicker and less sweet than treacle, which is lighter and sweeter.
Check out our Homemade Treacle Tart Recipe to make the most of your treacle container.

Can I make brown bread without Guinness?

You can make it with another stout beer or replace it with buttermilk or homemade buttermilk (400 ml milk mixed with 1 ¾ tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice).

How to store?

At room temperature, the brown bread will be ok for 4-5 days in an airtight container or bread box. Refrigerate it if you want to keep it for longer, but refrigerated bread is never as nice as one kept at room temperature; it tends to get a bit stodgy.
Freeze the slices of brown bread for 5-6 months. It’s preferable to freeze the slices, but you can also freeze the whole loaf or half of it.

What to serve with Irish Guinness bread?

We love it for breakfast, smeared with butter. You can top it with cheese, honey, jam, a drizzle of treacle, or sprinkle it with a bit of salt.

It’s perfect with soup, stew, or any saucy dish. Try it for St. Patrick’s Day with Irish Potato Soup.

close up slices of brown bread with oats.

More bread recipes

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irish guinness brown bread showing the crumb close up.

Irish Guinness Brown Bread Recipe

This moist Guinness brown bread, or wheaten bread, is a typical Irish bread made with whole-meal flour, oats, and stout.
5 from 3 votes
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Course: Bread
Cuisine: Irish
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Servings: 12 slices
Calories: 179kcal
Author: Adina

Equipment

  • 1 loaf pan 10 inches/ 25 cm

Ingredients 

  • 50 g butter 2 oz + some to butter the pan
  • 1 tablespoon treacle or molasses, Note 2
  • 450 g wholemeal flour preferably coarse, 1 lb, Note 3
  • 30 g oats old-fashioned, rolled oats or porridge oats 1/3 cup + 1 extra Tbsp, divided, Note 4
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt or Kosher salt
  • 400 ml Guinness 13.5 oz Notes 5, 6

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C. Butter the loaf pan generously and sprinkle its bottom with ½ tablespoon oats.
    small knob of butter + ½ Tbsp oats
  • Melt butter and treacle (molasses) in a small pan. Set aside until you combine the rest of the ingredients.
    50 g (2 oz) butter + 1 Tbsp treacle
  • Dry ingredients: Combine flour, oats, brown sugar, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl.
    450 g (1 lb) flour + 30 g/ 1/3 cup oats + 2 Tbsp brown sugar + 2 tsp baking soda + ½ tsp salt
  • Combine dough: Stir stout beer into the butter and pour this mixture over the flour mixture. Mix well with a spoon to combine.
  • Transfer the dough to the prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle it with ½ Tbsp oats.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes. Carefully remove the brown bread from the loaf pan. Place it again in the oven, this time directly on the rack. Bake it for another 5 to 10 minutes. Check if it’s cooked through; it should sound hollow when tapped on the underside.
  • Cool: Wrap it in a clean tea towel, place it on a wire rack, and let it cool before slicing.

Notes

  1. Always use a digital kitchen scale in baking; it guarantees the best results (Amazon affiliate link).
  2. Treacle or molasses are both fine for this recipe. If you live in Germany, use Zuckerrübersirup.
  3. Flour: Use coarse whole meal flour or stoneground whole wheat flour in the US for the most genuine results.
  4. Oats: You need porridge oats, old-fashioned or rolled oats. Steel-cut oats are not suitable for making this bread.
  5. Guinness: This recipe requires 400 ml/ 13.5 oz stout beer. However, a regular stout bottle contains 330ml/ 11 oz beer; one can usually contains 350 ml/ 12 oz. If you don’t want to open a second container (and drink the rest), replace the missing amount with buttermilk or yogurt (See Expert Tips).
  6. You can substitute Guinness with another stout beer.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 179kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 545mg | Potassium: 41mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 104IU | Calcium: 81mg | Iron: 1mg
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Elena

Saturday 18th of March 2023