It’s time for the wearing of the green ~ St. Paddy’s Day is almost here! Get a good start that morning, before you have any green beer with some warm Irish Soda Bread.
Irish Soda Bread is a traditional quick bread made without yeast. In Europe, soda breads began to appear in the mid-19th century when bicarbonate of soda (i.e., baking soda) first became available for use as a raising agent. Soda breads meant that people who didn’t have an oven—and virtually nobody had an oven then—could make bread. They cooked the bread in big cast-iron pot with a lid on it that would have been put right onto the fire. The great thing about baking soda is that it wasn’t as perishable as yeast, and it would have been relatively inexpensive.
The addition of caraway seeds and raisins to what we know as Irish Soda Bread is kind of a mystery. Many food historians believe this was an American add, and has nothing to do with Irish customs. Today, most true Irish Soda Breads are made with soft brown wheat, buttermilk and salt. This version sticks with American St. Paddy’s style and includes the seeds and fruit, but uses vegan buttermilk.
- 2 cups plain, unsweetened almond or soy milk
- 2 Tbl. apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- pinch salt
- 1 Tbl. sugar
- 1 Tbl. caraway seeds
- 2/3 cup raisins
- extra flour for dusting
- canola oil to brush on top, optional
- Preheat oven to 350.
- In a small bowl combine almond or soy milk and vinegar. Stir, then set aside to curdle. This is homemade vegan "buttermilk."
- In a large bowl, combine all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt and caraway seeds. Stir to combine. Pour in vegan "buttermilk" and gently fold until just combined. Add in raisins, again folding in until just combined. Do not overwork or your bread will get tough. Don't knead this bread.
- On a large baking sheet, dust flour so that the loaf will not stick. Turn out dough and roughly shape into a circle. Dust gently with more flour and brush top with canola oil for added gloss, if desired. Using a sharp knife, cut a cross in the top of the bread, to allow steam to vent.
- Bake 20 to 25 minutes at 350 until loaf is crusty and hard to the touch. Use a toothpick to check the middle for doneness.
- Allow to rest on baking sheet for 10 minutes before slicing. Best served warm and fresh. We like ours smeared with a little vegan margarine, like Earth Balance or Melt.
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