Easy Irish Soda Bread (in one hour!)

St. Patrick’s Day is still a few weeks away, but let’s start the celebration early!

Walking through Whole Foods the other day, a golden, raisin-crusted loaf caught my eye, bringing with it childhood memories of this hearty, comforting bread. My boyfriend Dan said he’d never tried Irish soda bread (can you believe it?!).

Just kidding, I have a feeling a lot of people haven’t experienced this yet. I wanted to show Dan how easy and delicious soda bread can be, but with a plant-based spin.

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Soda bread is a traditional Irish provision that I love because no heavy kneading or yeast is required when preparing; baking soda and buttermilk do all of the leavening for you. I did choose to make a white whole wheat version, adding in vital wheat gluten to help with the overall texture and rise. If you have bread flour on hand, that will work as well.

I know some people really don’t enjoy raisins, so I’d imagine any other fold-in (nuts, maybe?) would be tasty. However, the slight tang from the baking soda is a wonderful treat that pairs beautifully with dried fruit.

This bread is delicious when toasted and slathered with vegan butter or strawberry jam, pictured here. I hope you enjoy this simple loaf and that it helps get you through these last few weeks of winter, if you’re in my neck of the world. I must say the smell coming from the oven is almost as good as the bread itself. Enjoy! This recipe was inspired by Sweet Simple Vegan and yields one medium loaf.

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 TBS apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter, melted
  • 3 and 1/3 cups white whole wheat flour + 3 TBS vital wheat gluten (or 3 and 1/2 cups bread flour)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup raisins or dried fruit of choice
  • 2 TBS milled flaxseeds
  • 1 TBS cornstarch
  • 2 and 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 TBS caraway seeds

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F, and set aside a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, add almond milk and apple cider vinegar (this will be your “buttermilk”). Set aside to curdle for 10 minutes. In the meantime, combine in a large bowl flour (adding wheat gluten if using whole wheat or all-purpose flour), brown sugar, raisins, flaxseeds, cornstarch, baking soda, sea salt, and caraway seeds. Mix thoroughly so evenly incorporated. Using a spoon, create a well in the center (this will be for wet ingredients).
  3. Add melted butter to buttermilk and slowly pour wet into dry ingredients well in large bowl. Fold dry mixture into wet, carefully avoiding clumps until you have a smooth dough (using your hands can be helpful here). If your dough is too wet, add a few more tablespoons of flour or wheat gluten until it’s easier to handle but not overly dry. Mold dough into shape of your choice on parchment-lined baking sheet (there’s no real need to flatten).
  4. Bake for 40-ish minutes, until a knife stuck in the center comes out clean. The hardest part is waiting for it to cool completely to slice, but I really recommend holding off for an hour or two for the best texture! If you really can’t wait (I couldn’t!), slicing a small piece from the end won’t be the end of the world😊.

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