Vegan Traditional Irish Soda Bread

Soda bread is definitely the tastiest Irish bread when it’s REAL Irish soda bread. And by that, I mean not sweet and no raisins, please!

This crusty thick vegan soda bread definitely hits the spot when I’m hankering for home. All that traditional soda bread taste, but veganized!

When I was 11, my mother decided to up sticks and move from Dublin to Louth. In Louth, we stayed at her boyfriend’s house a few miles outside Drogheda town, while a new family home was being constructed in Meath.

Until that point, I had rarely eaten soda bread, but in the countryside many people had wicker woven bread baskets fixed to their houses. The bread man would then drop off a large fresh round of soda bread in these baskets in the morning and I would gorge myself on it.

A side view of soda bread with a dark background

Fast forward to today and I am living in Madrid, Spain. Lots of great quality food here, but no soda bread. Luckily for you, and my son who is allergic to dairy, I have worked hard to reproduce all that crusty traditional soda bread goodness.

This bread comes together in minutes, is vegan, and no kneading or yeast required. you too could have your own loaf of freshly baked soda bread with just 35 minutes of baking.

Oh, and if you’re a fan of bread you should DEFINITELY check out my herbed tomato quickbread, or my tasty garlic focaccia with bruschetta dip!

Soda bread tips and what to have it with

A crusty loaf of bread that has been quartered

This bread is NOT sandwich bread material as it is quite filling. Instead, try this.

  • Soda bread should be separated into quarters and sliced as thinly as possible (hint – it won’t be very thin!).
  • Soda bread is easier to slice when it has fully cooled, and easiest of all the next day.
  • This vegan soda bread is perfect for slathering plant-based spread on and dipping in soup, such as my roasted red pepper bisque.
  • It is also great for open-top sandwiches or slathered with hummus.
  • I use oat bran in this recipe but you can also swap it out for the same quantity of regular oats.
  • The olive oil is optional, but I find it makes for a softer bread, especially if you are planning to eat it over a few days and not the same day of baking.
  • This soda bread once cooled down, should be separated into quarters and wrapped tightly in aluminum foil and can be stored in the fridge for up to five days.
  • If after a few days you still have some soda bread left, which I doubt, and it is a little hard, it will toast perfectly. Just toast it on the grill, not in the toaster, or you will be fishing out broken soda bread pieces for days.

How to make it

This recipe for soda bread is so easy even a baking beginner could make it!

Preheat the oven and mix the plant-based milk with the lemon juice or vinegar in a bowl. I like to use soy milk as I feel it makes the bread a bit softer, but you do you!

A blue bowl full of milk

Combine the flours, salt, oat bran and baking soda in a large mixing bowl.  Next, if you are using the olive oil, rub it into the dry ingredients with your hands until they look like breadcrumbs.

FLour that looks like crumbs in a blue bowl

Note that you can also sub coconut oil for the olive oil and it will give a rich buttery taste.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add in the milk, which should have curdled by now. Use a knife to mix the dry into the wet ingredients and mix as little as possible, just until everything comes together. 

A rough brown dough in a blue bowl

A knife you say…yes. Because although this is an easy recipe, the dough is an ugly sticky dough and will coat any wooden spoons you introduce into the mix.

Mix enough so that all the dry and wet bits come together and then turn it out onto a baking tray which has been lined with baking paper. Overmixing will toughen the bread and kneading will definitely kill it.

A rough brown dough on baking paper

Using your hands, form the dough together into a rough ball and flatten it into a domed semicircle. Cut a deep cross with a damp knife. Supposedly, this is to let the fairies out, but in reality, it helps the bread rise and gives it more of a crusty surface.

A round of dough cut with a cross

Put the soda bread in the preheated oven and bake for 35 minutes. Remove and tap on the bottom. If it sounds hollow, it is done. Cover with a damp tea towel while cooling to keep the crust from getting too tough.

Once it has cooled completely, slice away and enjoy. If you can’t resist and end up cutting it while still warm, it will be delicious BUT it will crumble more easily than when cool, so slices would need to be pretty thick in order to not disintegrate.


Do let me know if you enjoyed my soda bread recipe and what you did with it, or whether you made any changes to the recipe. Did you slather it in margarine or and dip it in steaming soup, like Indian tomato soup?

Did you load it up with hummus, tomatoes, and onions? Or spread some guacamole on it? I’m getting hungry just thinking about it…

Take a picture and tag me on Instagram @the_fiery_vegetarian, or leave a starred review in the recipe box and a comment to let me know how you got on.

Yield: 6 people

Vegan Irish Soda Bread

Quartered soda bread on a black rack with a pale plaid tea towel beneath

Crusty fresh vegan brown soda bread with the unmistakable rustic flavour that comes about when baking with bicarbonate of soda instead of yeast, you would be hard pressed to distinguish between regular soda bread and this vegan version, and no rising time!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups Sugar-free plant-based milk (350ml)
  • 2 tbsp Lemon juice/Vinegar
  • 2.5 cups Wholemeal or brown flour (300g)
  • 1 and 2/3 cups Plain white all-purpose flour (200g)
  • 2/3 cup plus two tablespoons Oat bran (100g, can substitute with oats)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (60ml, optional)
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt

Instructions

  1. First, preheat the oven to 220C/430F or 200C/400F for fan assisted ovens.
  2. While the oven is heating up, combine the plant-based milk with the lemon juice or vinegar and let stand for at least five minutes in a warm place (I usually place it on the counter just above the oven or next to the hob if I've been cooking).
  3. Combine the flours, salt, oat bran and baking soda in a large mixing bowl. 
  4. Drizzle in the olive oil and rub into the dry ingredients with your hands until they resemble crumbs.
  5. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add in the milk, which should have curdled by now. Use a knife to mix the dry into the wet ingredients and mix as little as possible, just until everything comes together. 
  6. Then turn out the dough onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and form a rough ball, slightly flatten, and then cut a deep cross into it with a sharp and wet knife.
  7. Put the soda bread in the oven and set a timer for 35 minutes. At 35 minutes remove it to cool on a wire rack while covered with a damp kitchen towel (to keep the crust from hardening too much).
  8. Wait until it's entirely cool before cutting as otherwise, the slices will crumble too much. It can be stored in the fridge for up to a week and freezes well, just separate it into quarters before freezing.

Notes

If you don't wish to use soy milk you can use any other plant-based milk or even regular cows milk if you're not a vegan, but I find that the bread is softer when I use soy milk.

If desired you can use substitute wholemeal or brown flour for the white flour amount, but the bread will be slightly more difficult to cut and result in thicker slices.

This bread is much easier to slice the day after baking but may dry out slightly in the fridge, toasting it will bring it back to life.

Nutrition Information

Yield

8

Serving Size

3

Amount Per Serving Calories 517Total Fat 15gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 12gCholesterol 2mgSodium 322mgCarbohydrates 89gFiber 2gSugar 37gProtein 8g

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11 thoughts on “Vegan Traditional Irish Soda Bread”

  1. Hi, I love this vegan option! I have made it a few times, and the centre is doughy…. Any tips to avoid this? I’ve changed to a glass tray, which really helped but still can’t nail the doughiness!

    Reply
    • Hmmm that’s odd but usually if the bread is doughy in the middle it’s due to one of three things – flour measurement issue, oven temperature issue or cutting bread before it’s cool. Are you weighing your ingredients or using cups? Cups can really have big differences depending on whether they’re scooped poured levelled etc. so the first thing I would suggest is weighing with a kitchen scale. The second issue could be your oven running slightly cold, you could try increasing the temperature 10 degrees, and make sure to knock on the bottom of the bread when you remove it and that it sounds hollow, otherwise return to the oven for ten more minutes. The last issue is the easiest to solve which is just don’t cut it until it’s completely cool. As this is soda bread, I also have to ask if you are cutting the cross deep enough, as its purpose is to help the bread rise and cook more evenly. Let me know if any of these tips work for you! Also if you find any quickbread is undercooked you can return it to the oven for 10-20 minutes to “fix” it (even if it has been cut).

      Reply
  2. Hi, I love this recipe, I’ve made 1 nice loaf so far and one massive mistake when I misread ‘teaspoon’ and ‘tablespoon’ abreviations for the salt, woops! Is there a way to sweeten it a fraction? I used Soya milk and khorasan flour for the wholemeal. Do you also have more vegan bread recipes? My dream is to be able to make good vegan doughnuts like Crosstown. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Hey Conor! Oh no, I hate when all your hard-earned efforts can be wrecked by measurement mistakes! I once made it with sweetened soya milk by accident – it was NOT good. If you’d like it a little sweeter by all means you can experiment by adding sugar, I’d say just a teaspoon to start and increase it each time to your liking, just remember that this is a savoury bread recipe, there are some sweeter ones out there with raisins etc. in them. I do have several more vegan bread recipes, you can check them out here: https://www.thefieryvegetarian.com/category/breads/

      Thanks for stopping by, so happy you love the recipe!

      Reply
  3. You do mean grams and not milligrams, correct? Perhaps a Spain measurement translation issue? I know in Sweden they say 1 dl instead of 100 ml.

    Reply

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