Sometimes you want a delicious loaf of bread last-minute, and you don’t have time to let the dough rise. Or you don’t have live yeast. Or you’ve never made yeasted bread before! (Sometimes you’re just looking for St. Patrick’s Day recipes!)
Enter soda bread, a type of quick bread that dates to approximately 1840, when bicarbonate of soda was introduced to Ireland and replaced yeast as the leavening agent. It eventually became a staple of the Irish diet and is still used as an accompaniment to a meal.
There are several theories as to the significance of the cross in soda bread. Some believe that the cross was placed in the bread to ward off evil, but it is more likely that the cross is used to help with the cooking of the bread or to serve as a guideline for even slices.
One of the things I love about traditional recipes such as this one featured in The Joy of Vegan Baking among 150 others, is that they rarely need to be “veganized,” because they just happen to be vegan already. The lactic acid in buttermilk is what activates the carbon dioxide, but adding vinegar, which is acidic, to our nondairy milk creates the same effect.
A perfect, delicious bread that anyone can make, regardless of your skill level — and whether or not it’s St. Patrick’s Day! Pair it with a hearty stew (like the Scotch Broth / Scottish Stew from The Vegan Table), and you’re all set!
Preheat the oven to 425° F. Lightly grease a round 9- or 10-inch cake pan.
In a small bowl, combine the milk and vinegar. Let stand for 5 minutes. Essentially, by adding an acidic agent, you just created “buttermilk.”
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the milk and vinegar mixture, plus the oil or butter, and combine until you have a sticky dough. Knead the dough in the bowl or on a floured surface for about 10 to 12 strokes.
Place the dough in the prepared pan, and cut a cross in the top. Bake for 45 minutes or until the bottom has a hollow sound when thumped. Cool slightly before serving.
Soda bread can dry out quickly and is typically good for two to three days; it is best served warm or toasted with nondairy butter.
Yield: One round loaf
Serving Suggestions and Variations
This recipe was reprinted from The Joy of Vegan Baking. Get your copy today!
DID YOU MAKE IT? HOW DID IT TURN OUT?
What more fantastic vegan recipes? Have you checked out my cookbooks?