This Guinness Brown Bread is rich and flavorful. A hearty snack on its own, it's also an ideal companion for dunking into a piping hot Irish stew.
When I traveled to Ireland, I fell in love with the food. From the incredible restaurants in Dublin to the lovely coastal restaurants, bars, and cafes along the Wild Atlantic Way, I enjoyed Irish food everywhere I traveled.
I know that surprises many people, but trust me: there is AMAZING food to be enjoyed while traveling in Ireland! And more than just corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes!
One of the dishes I fell in love with was a side dish that was present in various forms at restaurants: Irish Guinness Brown Bread.
Table of contents
What is Guinness Brown Bread?
Guinness brown bread is technically a soda bread since it uses baking soda as the rising agent instead of yeast. However, it is not the same as what is known as Irish Soda Bread (see Recipe FAQs below for more details).
Kitchen tools and equipment
For this recipe, you just need a few basic kitchen tools:
Loaf pan - You'll need an 8 x 5 loaf pan to bake the bread.
Parchment paper - Parchment paper helps keep the bread from sticking to the loaf pan.
Mixing bowls - You'll need two large mixing bowls.
Whisk - Use a sturdy whisk to mix all of the ingredients together.
Spatula - use a silicone spatula to fold in the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and create the final batter.
Whole Wheat Flour - Whole wheat flour gives this bread its richness and weight.
All-purpose flour - Using AP flour balances out the whole wheat flour, keeping the bread softer than if you used all whole wheat flour.
Oats - Use old-fashioned oats, which are sometimes labeled as rolled oats. Do NOT use instant oats or steel cut oats.
Baking soda & baking powder - We use both to help give the bread a hearty lift!
Butter - Melt unsalted butter in the microwave, and then allow it to cool before adding it to the mixture.
Brown sugar - Be sure to use dark brown sugar to get the proper taste and color in this bread.
Guinness - The recipe calls for one 12-ounce can or glass of Guinness beer. You can also use any other stout beer, as long as it's not a flavored stout.
Buttermilk - If you don't have buttermilk: Pour a cup of milk into a glass and squeeze about a tablespoon of lemon juice on top. Allow it to sit for 5 minutes, then stir. Voila! Homemade buttermilk.
Salt - I use kosher salt.
Vanilla - A little bit of vanilla extract goes a long way. This helps add that bakery fresh aroma and flavor to the bread.
Exact measurements of ingredients and instructions are in the printable recipe card toward the bottom of this post. Here are some helpful tips to guide you as you make this recipe.
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line an 8x5 loaf pan with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, dark brown sugar, oats, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
In a separate large bowl, whisk together the beer, buttermilk, melted & cooled butter, and vanilla.
Gradually add the dry mixture to the wet mixture, stirring to combine.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Lower the temperature to 400°F then bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
Allow the bread to cool slightly in the pan at room temperature before removing from the pan and serving.
Guinness Brown Bread Recipe FAQs
While it is similar to Irish soda bread, Guinness Brown Bread is different. Irish Soda Bread tends to be sweeter, whereas Guinness Brown Bread tends to be more savory. This recipe also calls for a mix of whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour, which creates a richer weight and texture compared to Irish Soda Bread, which usually consists of only all-purpose flour.
The initial higher temperature helps the bread rise better and faster, before the gluten has a chance to set. By the time the oven goes down to the lower temperature, the bread will have had a chance to rise without getting overbaked, and will then bake evenly for the remaining time in the oven.
Store in an airtight container or bread box at room temperature for up to five days. You can also refrigerate the bread for up to one week.
Yes. Old-fashioned oats are a type of rolled oats, so you may see packaging that uses one name or the other.
Unfortunately, you cannot substitute steel cut oats in this recipe. Steel cut oats take longer to cook than rolled oats and quick cooking oats. They also absorb less water. So using steel cut oats would completely change the end result of this brown bread recipe.
How to serve Irish brown bread
This bread is absolutely delicious on its own - all it needs is a generous pat of smooth Irish butter.
But it's also amazing when served with our Instant Pot Irish Lamb Stew.
Best drink pairings for brown bread
I'm sure you can guess which beer would pair well with this bread... ;)
In addition to enjoying a slice of this Guinness Brown Bread with a pint of Guinness, it's also delicious with this Rosemary Citrus Old Fashioned.
For a fun, NOT authentically Irish ;) non-alcoholic drink, try my McDonald's copycat Shamrock Shake recipe!
More bread recipes to try
- Garlic Rosemary Focaccia
- Filipino Pandesal rolls
- Banana Chocolate Chip Bread
- Pineapple Bread
- Gingerbread Loaf
Ireland Travel Articles
Curious about the inspiration behind this recipe? Read all about my travels to Ireland:
- Best Restaurants in Dublin
- Things to Do in Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way
- Touring the Guinness Storehouse Brewery in Dublin, Ireland
- Where to Stay in Dublin: The Wilder Townhouse hotel
Guinness Brown Bread
- 2¼ cup whole wheat flour
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 cup old-fashioned oats
- 2¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 can (12 ounces) Guinness or other stout beer, at room temperature
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line an 8x5 loaf pan with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, dark brown sugar, oats, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- In a separate large bowl, whisk together the beer, buttermilk, melted & cooled butter, and vanilla.
- Gradually add the dry mixture to the wet mixture, stirring to combine.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Lower the temperature to 400°F then bake for 45 minutes.
Nutrition information is a general estimate. Actual nutrition details may vary depending on the exact foods & brands you use to make this recipe. It does not take into account any substitutions, toppings, or optional ingredients.