There are two things I associate with St. Patrick’s Day: wearing green and being pinched if you forget to wear green (meanwhile claiming that you are wearing green underwear, so please stop pinching me!). But now that I feel like I am a verifiable amateur home cook, I am now adding a third item to the list – learning how to cook some new Irish recipes every year in March.
I don’t recall ever having Irish soda bread, but I was definitely ready to try it. There are so many variations of this bread, many of which call for eggs, that I wanted to find something that could be veganized without the use of an egg substitute. I was really pleased for two reasons when I came across Nana Dot’s Irish Soda Bread Recipe – first, it had no eggs (yay!) and second, it is a family recipe that comes from Ireland. I love it when I find something that has history and authenticity.
I was also really curious by the list of ingredients. A lot of the recipes I had run across did include things like raisins, but this was the first I had seen using caraway seeds. The recipe had so many rave reviews, though, that I trusted I’d probably like it with the added unusual flavor. The end result was most certainly interesting – very scone-like, not too sweet, and a lot of balanced flavors milling about together. Truthfully it reminded me very much of other European breads I had years ago when studying in Spain, which was a nice thing because it just added to the authenticity of this bread.
Vegan Irish soda bread
Adapted from Nana Dot’s Irish Soda Bread Recipe on Allrecipes.com
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 cup vegan butter, cut into pieces
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup currants (You can substitute raisins if needed.)
2 teaspoons caraway seed, optional
3/4 cup vegan milk
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. and grease two baking sheets (or you may use silicone baking sheets in place of greasing).
Stir or whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a large bowl until evenly blended.
Cut in the butter using a pastry blender or your hands until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
Stir in the raisins, currants (if using), and caraway seeds (also if using).
Make a well in the center of your mixture and pour in the milk and vinegar. Stir with a spoon until the dry ingredients are moistened.
Turn the dough out onto a well floured work surface, and knead gently 8 to 10 times.
Divide the dough into two balls, and place onto the prepared baking sheets.
Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven’s heat to 375 degrees F., and bake until the top of the bread is golden brown, about 15 minutes more. You will bake your soda bread for a total of about 30 minutes, however you may need an extra 5-10 minutes (I should have baked mine for another five minutes at least as it was still a little doughy in the center). Allow the bread to cool before cutting or storing.
Cut into wedges, then serve! They are perfect as they are, or you can add vegan butter.
Samantha writes a vegan blog at Novel Eats.
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