Vegan Irish Soda Bread

When people hear that I enjoy baking, they often assume I live among rolling pins, piping tools and butter. This is def not the case.

Indeed, beautiful bread and cakes come to mind…with the image of a baker in a white hat (flour idyllically on the nose) quickly following. Therefore, the idea of creating vegan goods while in one of my mom’s “long-ass coats and exercise pants” (flour down the front), seems as related to the baking identity as Irish soda bread is to a vegan Welsh girl.

Oh, wait…

You know the whole “stranded on a deserted island” scenario? The one where you decide what books you couldn’t go without, what people, what movies (though I don’t know how a TV gets to the island)? Well, I often ponder the foods I could eat for the rest of my sunburned days.

One such food: bread.

(Side note: writing on the program Paint is like trying to text with gloves on, as shown above. Also, doesn’t it make your eyes burn a little?!)

I can sacrifice dairy, eggs and meat, no prob. But a carb-less diet would be as debilitating as a freaking snake bite. A rattlesnake. Huge one. At the bottom of the Grand Canyon. With no one around but Leonard Maltin and his On Demand Movie Picks. And this week it’s Black Beauty and Gigi.

I really love bread.

Apples would actually be a strong competitor, too. They (like bread) are full of wonderful possibilities that don’t end with breakfast. Avocados and chocolate are the only threats.

This morning’s apple was a real stunner. Stunna, that is. He said to me, Paint me like one of your French girls. But I wouldn’t do him justice with my painting, so I photographed him instead.

He was flattered; it shines through. What he did not anticipate, however, was this next shot:

Boom.

The almond butter was right there, though…he should have seen it coming.

So bread! Irish soda bread has been on my list for a while now, and what better time to make it than around St. Patrick’s Day. I’m glad to share with you a fairly successful first trial! Vegan and all.

Although…mine did not turn out to be very attractive. I definitely recommend spice, fruit, nut, seed, etc. It serves as wonderful toast with jam, or buttered vegan-ly and alongside soup!

Vegan Irish Soda Bread

makes one round loaf, about 12 servings…ish

total time: 1 hour

adapted from Happy Herbivore

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups non-dairy milk (I used original almond)
  • 2 tsp apple-cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tbsp raw sugar (optional)
  • 1/2 cup raisins, nuts, seeds, etc. (I almost added lavender! But I went with cloves. Be bold!)

Directions:

  1. Combine apple-cider vinegar and milk; set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (sorry, Paul!)
  3. In your most enormous humongous gigantic XXL mixing bowl, measure in your flour, soda, salt, sugar/seasonings/nuts/fruit, etc. Whisk thoroughly so as to get an even mixture.
  4. Meanwhile, back at the ranch (my high school acting teacher used to say that, I loved it), superspeed whisk your cider/milk combo, so as to curdle it a bit. You’re looking for a faintish yellow that’s bubbly-foam-like (I know this doesn’t sound appealing, but trust me, it gets you bread).
  5. Slowly pour the liquid-ness into the dry ingredients, stirring with a wooden spoon. Adding the milk mix in intervals helps this whole process. Also, the dough will be flour-y all the way through, so don’t be alarmed by that!
  6. Once moist-ish and mixed, gently knead the bread a few times only. The purpose in this is not so much to activate the gluten (the acidity of cider-milk-business does that), as it is to firm the dough into a ball. It becomes tough and unpleasant (aka mean bread) if you handle it too much.
  7. Score an X on the top of the circle. I mean, you don’t have to. If you prefer the star of David, well, do the star of David.
  8. Place on a greased baking pan or cast-iron skillet (which, I hear, is the Irish way) and bake for 35-45 minutes at 425 degrees F. Poke the middle with a skewer, chopstick, thermometer – something thin and sharp. If it comes out clean, you have got some soda bread!
  9. Celebrate with a Guinness. Or jam and butter, you know.

-Bette Jane

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40 thoughts on “Vegan Irish Soda Bread

  1. I have been searching for a great vegan irish soda bread recipe! I can’t wait to try this one out for St. Patrick’s Day. Love the recipe commentary, also :)

  2. Thank you so much, Ruby! I had to navigate through many vegan (and more often almost vegan) recipes, too, before finding one. Let me know how it turns out if you make it!
    Bette Jane

  3. P.S you “paint” are lacking. Not that I have any. But I was just on photobucket the other day specifically aweing at how wonderful you are at paint art.

    • I’ll do my best with the almond butter. I tried sending you a package of mustaches but it didn’t go through…
      I’m sorry to disappoint on the Paint skills, but I can’t think of when I’ve ever had any!
      Also, I totally thought of you when I made this bread. I almost put grapes in it.
      Almost!

  4. New vegans, I’m new to baking, I tried your recipe. Messed up. Used baking powder instead of baking soda; used a full cup of raisins; only a teaspoon of sugar. Baked about 40 minutes, cooled, found it was soggy inside; baked another 15 minutes, cooled, tasted. It’s great. Not too sweet, terrific flavor. Can’t use butter or oil of any kind, so it’s apricot preserves alone, and that’s still very tasty. Toasted, it will be my breakfast tomorrow morning with a big mug of hot tea. Thank you. We are desperate for satisfying foods since all the standard stuff is now verboten.

    • George,
      I am so glad you were able to find soda bread success! The apricot preserves sound absolutely ideal, especially with tea. Thank you for the feedbacK!
      Bette Jane

      • Some time has passed since the last post. I’ve made the soda bread several times now, but have fallen off the vegan wagon and am using non-fat milk. Have experimented with the recipe – added a cup of dried cranberries and a cup of crushed walnuts, a healthy heaping tablespoon of cinnamon and a little sugar. The last thing before it goes into the oven is a heavy sprinkling of cinnamon sugar. The result is an aromatic, crusty, solid, no-nonsense loaf that keeps us happy for several breakfasts. Toasting brings out its better attributes. I rarely use any kind of butter, but the apricot preserves are almost a necessity. Without ‘em, the bread is still aromatic and tasty, but the little extra doesn’t hurt.

        • George,
          You are an Irish Soda Bread master. I, too, have fallen off the vegan bandwagon. Your recommendations and maneuvers with this recipe make me hungry; in fact, I have some apricot preserves that need to be appreciated!
          I’ll be referring to your words when I make the soda bread again.
          Bette Jane

          • Betty Jane: The development program continues. Made a loaf yesterday evening, adding more modifications but breaking with my private tradition: I kept notes. I think I just about have the right recipe – at least for what I sought; not too sweet, but a little sweet, tartness from the cranberries, more cinnamon than before – oh, heck, here’s the recipe of last night:

            4 cups whole wheat flour
            2 cups sour fat-free milk plus maybe a splash, as needed. A little too much will make the mixture very gummy and difficult to handle.
            1 tsp salt
            1 tsp baking soda
            1 tsp baking powder
            4 heaping tablespoons cinnamon
            4 heaping tablespoons brown sugar
            1 cup dried cranberries
            1 cup crushed walnuts
            sprinkling of cinnamon sugar on top just before it goes into the oven.

            Baked 50 minutes at 350F. Result was a crusty loaf that was slightly moist in the center, and which toasted nicely with a light crust on the middle surfaces.

            I’m trying to avoid fats, and this qualifies pretty well, I think. Two toasted slices with apricot preserves, no butter (but it would awfully nice to use some), and a big mug of tea comprised my breakfast this morning. The warm cranberries are a big plus in my book.

    • Oh, that’s such a good idea! I’m sure you could pair it with countless, slightly fancier (or not) dishes! I’m glad it turned out.
      Bette Jane

      • I have an issue! Or probably 2 one, I’m a man! And two, you haven’t told me what temperature to bake at and i don’t know 😒 please help!

        • I looked up another recipe which suggested a temp of 220 degrees c and it worked fine for me, although it might have taken closer to 40mins to cook.

        • Paul,

          Forgive my tardy, tardy response. First, I’m unsure of your being a man as an issue; I’m sure you’re great in the kitchen! Second, the temperature should be 425 degrees F (thank you Sarah Saey for your help!). I do not know how I missed that important detail. St. Patrick’s Day follies, perhaps!

          I hope it worked out okay!

          Bette Jane

        • Paul, I use 350F for 50 minutes. Check it at 40 minutes, though, in case your
          oven thermostat isn’t accurate.

  5. Pingback: St. Patrick’s Day Recipe Round-Up! « The Vegan Cookbook Aficionado

  6. Pingback: Show Your Green This St. Patrick’s Day « A Life Vegetarian

  7. check you photobucket and your robots. you were quite impressive. i’ve moved on from almond butter check your facebook i now want you to make me chocolate chip zucchini cookies.but only cause i am out of chocolate chips. you can veganize ( i guess thats how i want to say this ) it if you want. baha

  8. YUM!!!! I made this plus corned beef seitan for St. Pat’s last Saturday and it was perfect (even better for sandwiches the next day). LOVE your site :) I’ll definitely be back for more recipes!! Thanks!

    • Rebecca,
      That sounds wonderful! I haven’t worked with seitan much, and this bread is a perfect opportunity to do so – thank you for reading and sharing!
      Bette Jane

  9. Hi – your blog is well done. I am a bit worried for you re one thing: one of the gnomes you use in your photo here may be copyrighted. E-mail me for more info.
    And thanks for the irish soda bread recipe – will try it soon.

  10. Pingback: St. Patrick's Day Recipe Round-Up! | The Vegan Cookbook Aficionado

  11. I’ve made my final modification (I think) and tonight made a soda bread that the Irish wouldn’t claim, but it’s delicious and I don’t care what the Irish think. The recipe I used is:
    4 cups whole wheat flour
    2 cups sour fat-free milk plus maybe a splash, as needed. A little too much will make the mixture very gummy and difficult to handle.
    1 cup of cane sugar
    1 tsp salt
    1 heaping tsp baking soda
    4 heaping tablespoons cinnamon
    4 heaping tablespoons brown sugar
    1 cup dried cranberries
    1 cup crushed walnuts
    1 cup chopped dried cranberries
    sprinkling of cinnamon sugar on top just before it goes into the oven.

    I know it’s a long way from real Irish soda bread, but it has great flavor. Thanks for getting me started.

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