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Vegan Irish Soda bread is a tasty rustic, no-yeast and no-knead bread that is super quick and easy. A fresh baked whole wheat loaf can be ready in just an hour.
A slice or wedge of this wholesome wheaten bread is perfect for mopping up soup or gravy juices. Or for a hearty lunch enjoy a slice toasted with baked beans on top. So simple yet so tasty, and packed full of plant-powered nutrition.
Quick Origins of Irish soda bread
Irish soda bread prepared with whole wheat flour is also known as wheaten bread.
Recipes for Irish soda bread have been found as far back as 1830s Ireland as it was around this time bicarbonate of soda/baking soda was invented.
Surprisingly soda bread dates even further back! Native Americans used the pearl ash that is formed when wood is burned to make soda bread! As pearl ash is a natural soda.
Irish soda bread was a staple food during the Great Irish Famine of 1845-1852 as the basic ingredients of flour, bicarbonate of soda/baking soda, buttermilk and salt made for an inexpensive bread.
Nowadays, Irish soda bread is loved globally especially during St. Patrick’s Day which is held annually on the 17th March.
Irish soda bread always has a deep cross scored into the middle of the surface. This cross symbolises the blessing of the bread, which according to Irish lore is a long standing tradition. A small score is also made on the four bread quarters and this is to allow evil spirits, the devil, or fairies to escape the dough before baking!
For more information about Irish soda bread visit the website The Society for The Preservation of Soda Bread.
Vegan Irish Soda Bread
My family lived in Northern Ireland for some time and two of my children where born on the beautiful green emerald isle. Nothing beats Irish soda bread baked in Ireland but my recipe is a delicious plant-based alternative. We moved back to Scotland and found it difficult to source soda bread in any of the supermarkets or local shops.
The Society for the Preservation of Soda Bread state that flour, buttermilk, salt and baking soda/bicarbonate of soda is the only traditional ingredients needed for an Irish soda bread, so I have followed this guidance.
My recipe for vegan Irish soda bread remains as authentic as possible as I have only included traditional ingredients. Apple cider vinegar or lemon juice is used to curdle the plant-based milk and provide the acidity required to interact with the bicarbonate of soda to provide a lovely rustic loaf.
Strong whole-wheat bread flour produces a wonderful crusty, nutty, savoury bread that is incredibly hearty and wholesome. I love the dark rustic farmhouse look of this vegan Irish bread and the pleasant chewy texture.
But the best part is the amazing appetite inducing aromas that are produced when soda bread is baking or toasting.
How To prepare Vegan Irish Soda Bread
Recipe Notes and FAQS
Store soda bread wrapped in kitchen paper, kitchen foil, within a bread bag, or wrapped in a clean tea towel. Place in a bread bin or store in a cool, dry and dark place.
Irish soda bread is best eaten 1-2 days after baking, but older soda bread 3-5 days after baking can be enjoyed toasted or refreshed in a warm oven for a few minutes.
Yes. Soda bread is perfect for freezing. Simply wrap well in a freezer-proof wrap and store for 4-6 months. Place a piece of kitchen paper between slices so that it is easy to pull out a few slices at a time. Or wrap the entire loaf to freeze. I often use half a loaf as an accompaniment to a stew and then freeze the other half for a future meal.
Irish soda bread has no added fat so can be a perfect replacement for dumplings if you are reducing your fat/oil intake. Enjoy a slice on the side or break larger chunks and add to your stews as an instant dumpling.
A few dinner ideas:
* Vegan traditional Irish Stew
* Irish leek and oatmeal broth
* Vegan traditional British ‘beef’ stew
* Vegan traditional Scottish stovies
* Cream of kale and celery soup
* Traditional Scottish lentil soup
The traditional method of dividing up soda bread for serving is to pull apart each quartered wedge. However trying to eat a large wedge is quite filling. But not impossible as my son usually manages!
Slice the soda bread into four sections and then slice each quarter into four more. Each slice will not be completely equal but you should be able to get 12-16 slices.
* Reheat in a warm oven for a few minutes to refresh
* Toast and spread with vegan butter or margarine
* Place in a food processer and whizz until breadcrumbs form. Either use right away or freeze until required. Use a cup of soda bread crumbs to prepare this tasty wartime recipe for Christmas pudding.
* Cut the soda bread into little squares and prepare croutons.
Either brush with a little olive oil and fry or bake until crispy at around180 Fan/ 200 C/ 392 Fahrenheit /Gas 6 for about 15-20 minutes or until crunchy. Turn the croutons around half way through baking.
Or bake, without oil, until crispy.
Enjoy with any of your favourite salads or Buddha bowls. Or use the croutons as a soup or stew garnish.
Irish Soda Bread (Vegan)
- Baking tray
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
- 400 ml plant-based milk
- 1 tablespoon rolled oats this is just for adding to the top of the bread.
Prepare the vegan buttermilk:
- Mix through 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar to the plant-based milk. Leave for at least 15 minutes.
Prepare the soda bread:
- Preheat your oven to 180 Fan / 200 Celsius / 400 Fahrenheit/ Gas 6.
- Mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda, and salt together in a bowl.
- Give the buttermilk a good stir. Pour the curdled milk into the flour mix, using enough milk to bring the mix into a ball that can be shaped with the hands, so is not too sticky.There is usually some milk left.
- Place your dough on a floured surface.Don't knead the dough too much as it will overwork it.Just bring it together and pat with your hands into a circle shape about 1 ½-2 inch high.
- Add extra flour if your dough is too sticky to work with. Add extra milk if your dough is too dry to form into a dough. Simply wet your hands with the milk and pat onto your dough to fix any dry cracks.
- Score a cross through the bread to about ½ of the way down. Using a knife add a small slit at each corner/wedge.
- Brush the top with buttermilk. If you have used all your buttermilk simply brush with plant-milk.
- Scatter the rolled oats over the bread
- Bake on the middle rung for 30-35 minutes until nicely brown. Exact times will depend on your oven. I use a fan oven and my bread is usually ready after 30 minutes.
- Carefully turn your bread over and tap its underside. If it sounds hollow its ready.
- If the bread is cut whilst still very hot it will look quite dense and moist inside so its best to wait until its cooler to slice.Although it will still be delicious if you can't wait.
- Nutritional information is provided for guidance only and is not a strict analysis as ingredients vary. Data is calculated using computerized nutrition apps.
- Soda bread will keep fresh for 2-3 days, but older soda bread 3-4 days old can still be enjoyed toasted or reheated in the oven.
- Store soda bread wrapped in kitchen parchment or kitchen foil, within a bread bag, and place in a bread bin or similar. Alternatively wrap go the traditional route and wrap in a clean tea towel and keep in a bread bin or somewhere cool and dark.
- Freeze soda bread, well wrapped, for 4-6 months. Add small piece of kitchen paper between individual slices for easy removal of a few slices at a time.
- Soda bread is best enjoyed soon after baking, but older slices are amazing toasted or reheat in a warm oven for a few minutes to refresh.
- Toasted soda bread with baked beans served over and a little nutritional yeast flakes or grated vegan cheese, makes for a hearty lunch or lighter dinner.
- Enjoy a wedge of soda bread with your favourite soup or stew, or as an accompaniment to a salad bowl.
- Soda bread can be either sliced into portions or go the rustic traditional route and pull apart wedges.