Traditional Irish Brown Soda Bread – Vegan Style

A couple of months into my plant-based journey, I began to miss my little Sunday ritual of making my Irish grandmother’s traditional Brown Soda Bread. It’s so simple and satisfying to make, that after trying, and spectacularly failing to find an equally delicious alternative, I decided to come up with my own vegan version of it. And although it’s taken a good few weeks of fine-tuning, I think I’ve finally cracked it. Not wanting to stray from the original recipe too much, I substituted only what was absolutely necessary in order to keep the taste as authentic as possible. I’m super happy, and proud, of the outcome, as I know my grandmother would not only give me her seal of approval but also join me in having a nice oven-warm slice together with a delightfully strong cup of black tea! It’s a truly wonderful bread, that can be enjoyed with sweet or savory toppings, or even just plain, being perfect to dip in any kind of vegetable soup or stew.

Ingredients

To Replace 1 Egg

Pre-prepare: Mix the ground flaxseed together with the water in a separate bowl and leave to stand for about 10 minutes. By this time, it will have absorbed the water and slightly thickened, making it ready for use.

To Replace Buttermilk

Pre-prepare: Pour the milk into a measuring cup, and then add the juice of the squeezed lemon. Let it stand for about 15 minutes – once it thickens and curdles, it’s ready for use.

To Glaze

Prepare only when bread is ready for the oven: Boil in small saucepan until clear, and then quickly – as it will begin to set – brush the top and sides of the bread immediately before placing in the oven.

Optional

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven at 425 degrees F (220°C) for about 10-15 minutes.
  2. Sift both flours together.
  3. Add the salt, baking soda, and seeds (if using).
  4. Add the applesauce, quickly rubbing it into the flour with your fingertips until you reach a breadcrumb-like texture.
  5. Add the pre-prepared flaxseed egg replacement, also working it in with your fingertips.
  6. Make a well in the center, pouring in about 6 ounces (175ml) of the pre-prepared buttermilk replacement mix.
  7. Bring the dry and wet ingredients together, using your hand like a mixer to bind each together into a ball.
  8. Dough should be soft, but not too sticky. So gauging this, add more liquid as needed – usually only about 7 ounces (200ml) overall is required, but you will know by its feel/consistency if a little extra should be used.
  9. Turn out onto a floured surface, and then flatten out into circular shape approximately 1½-inch deep.
  10. Place on a parchment-lined baking tray.
  11. Cut a cross on the top, and then brush on the cornstarch glaze.
  12. Bake in the oven for 15 mins at 425 degrees F (220°C), then turn down to 375 degrees F (190°C) and cook for a further 25 minutes.
  13. To check if cooked, insert a clean knife into the loaf and see if it comes out clean, OR, if you tap the base, it should sound hollow.
  14. Remove, and cool on a wire rack.

Topping Ideas

  • Spread your choice of jam, jelly, or marmalade on top, and pair with your favorite tea. Makes for a delicious dessert!
  • Spread your choice of hummus on top, adding avocado, beets, or cucumber, for example, to finish. Pair with an additional side salad, soup, or both.

Emily is a recent Boston University graduate, whole-food plant-based enthusiast, and aspiring health communication specialist. Having completed the Plant Based Nutrition Certificate, she hopes to incorporate these studies into her educational writings on the subject. She currently lives in California with her husband, Michael, and rescue bichon, Murphy, and runs her own whole-food plant-based oriented blog.
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