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Irish Soda Bread

Easy Irish Soda bread, ready in one hour! With dried fruit and classic flavors like caraway, this simple vegan bread recipe is fun to make and a great pairing for so many meals. 

irish soda bread cut in half on a wooden board with a blueberry jam in the background

What is soda bread?

Soda bread is a traditional provision eaten in many parts of the world today. Traditionally, soda bread is made with just flour, baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), salt, and buttermilk. What makes this bread unique is that no yeast is involved in the baking process; also, no heavy kneading is required when preparing. As the name implies, baking soda and buttermilk do all of the leavening for you.

If you’ve made banana bread, think of this process as a similar “quick bread.” One slight difference is that instead of baking in a traditional loaf pan, this soda bread bakes right on a tray, freeform.

How does soda bread rise?

Buttermilk in the soda bread dough contains lactic acid, which reacts with the baking soda to create bubbles of carbon dioxide. This negates the need for yeast and intense kneading to build up a gluten network in the dough. Overworking the dough via kneading can actually yield a tougher end product, so stay away from mixing too heavily.

Soda bread is notable for its classic crumb structure, so keep this in mind when considering the final texture. The crust in particular will be nice and crispy.

overhead shot of two slices of Irish soda bread with jam on a white plate

How to Make Soda Bread

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a small bowl, add almond milk and apple cider vinegar. Set aside to curdle.
  2. Combine in a large bowl flour, brown sugar, raisins if using, flaxseeds, cornstarch, baking soda, sea salt, and caraway seeds if using. Mix until incorporated (no need to knead).
  3. Add melted butter to buttermilk and slowly pour wet into dry ingredients well in large bowl. Fold dry mixture into wet. Mold dough into shape of your choice on parchment-lined baking sheet.
  4. Bake for around 50-60 minutes, until a knife stuck in the center comes out clean. Let cool fully before slicing.

Can I omit raisins in soda bread?

Yes, you can easily leave the raisins out of this recipe. I know some people really don’t enjoy dried fruit, 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 wonderfully with dried fruit. Soda bread made with raisins is colloquially called “Spotted Dog” or “Spotted Dick” in parts of Ireland.

History of Soda Bread

Traditional Irish soda bread was historically cooked on a griddle (like a flatbread). At this time, regularly available flours did not have the  protein qualities needed to rise when combined with yeast. Baking soda was a simple alternative, making it a popular option until more high gluten flours become more readily available.

overhead shot of two slices of Irish soda bread with jam on a white plate

What to Eat with Soda Bread

This bread is delicious when toasted and slathered with butter or strawberry jam, pictured here. The plain version (without raisins) is also a nice pairing for soups and salads.

I hope you enjoy this simple loaf and that it helps get you through these last few weeks of winter, if that’s your area of the world. Enjoy!

Looking for more bread recipes? Try one of these next:

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irish soda bread cut in half on a wooden board with a blueberry jam in the background

Irish Soda Bread


  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 20 slices (1 large loaf) 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Easy Irish Soda bread, ready in one hour! With dried fruit and classic flavors like caraway, this simple vegan bread recipe is fun to make and a great pairing for so many meals.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 and 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk (363 grams)
  • 1 TBS apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter, melted (56.7 grams)
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour* (507.5 grams)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (150 grams) [add more if you are not using raisins]
  • 1 cup raisins or dried fruit of choice, optional
  • 2 TBS milled flaxseeds
  • 1 TBS cornstarch
  • 2 and 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp sea salt (6 grams)
  • 1 TBS caraway seeds, optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F, and set aside a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper. In a small bowl, add almond milk and apple cider vinegar (this will be your “buttermilk”). Set aside to curdle for 10 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, combine in a large bowl flour, brown sugar, raisins if using, flaxseeds, cornstarch, baking soda, sea salt, and caraway seeds if using. Mix until evenly incorporated (no need to knead).
  3. Using a spoon, create a well in the center (this will be for wet ingredients). 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 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). The dough will spread as it bakes.
  4. Bake for around 50-60 minutes, until a knife stuck in the center comes out clean. Let cool fully before slicing (the bread structure will solidify as it cools).

Notes

*If you have all purpose bread flour on hand, I recommend substituting this here

  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Irish

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/20 of recipe
  • Calories: 174 calories
  • Sugar: 12 grams
  • Sodium: 329 milligrams
  • Fat: 4.8 grams
  • Saturated Fat: 2.3 grams
  • Unsaturated Fat: 1.5 grams
  • Trans Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 30.4 grams
  • Fiber: 1.2 grams
  • Protein: 2.7 grams
  • Cholesterol: 0 milligrams

Keywords: vegan bread, irish recipes, irish soda bread,

Pin this Vegan Irish Soda Bread

Easy Irish Soda bread, ready in one hour! With dried fruit and classic flavors like caraway, this simple vegan bread recipe is fun to make and a great pairing for so many meals. 

 

 

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About the Author

Hi, I'm Emily! Garlic Head is a plant-based recipe website for all eaters who want to easily, affordably, and sustainably incorporate more vegetables into their diets. My recipes focus on entertaining-style cuisine, perfect for celebrating all of life's little moments!

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Comments

  1. Sue0523 says

    This is my new go-to soda bread – its SOOOO GOOD! I used regular butter instead of vegan (it’s what I had) and a scant cup of sugar (no raisins in the house). Also – the recipe makes a lot, so I baked two smaller loaves for 43 minutes or so – turned out great!

  2. carole says

    This was the best ever soda bread,,,.the best I ever had.! I think the almond milk made the differance.will definitely keep this recipe!

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