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.
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:
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
- 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!)
- Combine apple-cider vinegar and milk; set aside.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (sorry, Paul!)
- 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.
- 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).
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- Celebrate with a Guinness. Or jam and butter, you know.