Despite not being Irish, I’m partial to St. Patrick’s Day. It has been a special date for me since 1998 when I landed a clerkship at the US Court of International Trade. That changed everything for me.
Sure it’s a holiday bread today, but soda bread has a fascinating history. See this excellent little piece.
I make two different savoury loaves. Both are very easy.
Americans, please note, this is the flour and caraway seeds kind, not the Irish-American sweet version (which is also tasty). See here for the great Irish Soda Bread debate.
Happy St. Paddy’s! (oh and yeah, it’s Paddy, not Patty)
- 1 3/4 cups wholemeal flour and 1 3/4 cups white strong bread flour
- 1 Tablespoon caraway seeds
- 1 Tablespoon fennel seeds
- 2 Tablespoons milled linseeds/flaxmeal (I didn’t have unmilled ones, but if I did, I would have put in 1 Tbsp only)
For the lighter loaf on the right:
- 1 3/4 cups all purpose white flour and 1 3/4 cups wholemeal flour
- 2 Tablespoons caraway seeds
If you fancy all three types of seeds – caraway, fennel and linseeds/flax, then by all means combine them all – one tablespoon of each. I have also used nigella and cumin seeds with good results.
Rest of ingredients and method for either type:
- 1 teaspoon baking-soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups vegan buttermilk (oat, soy or almond milk mixed with 2 Tablespoons apple cider/white vinegar or lemon juice; mix in glass container; let stand for 10 minutes)
Preheat oven to 220C/425F.
I used a modified Dutch oven method for baking. I do not have a Dutch oven proper and I used a cast iron and ceramic baking dish. I have also used an oven-proof glass baking dish and you may also use a cast iron pan. Whatever you decide to use, you will need to heat your cast iron pan or saucepan. So place the dish in the oven as soon as you turn on the oven. You could also use a baking sheet, but then you will need to split the dough into smaller dough balls.
Mix flour, seeds, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Just before you are ready to put the bread mix in the oven, mix in the buttermilk (otherwise it starts reacting with the baking soda and you only want it to do that in the oven – this is not a bread dough you pre-make).
The mixture made with all purpose white flour will feel looser and more moist than a regular bread dough, while the mix made with strong bread flour will be a bit drier (all this is because of the different types of flour and the moisture they absorb).
Mix it well, but do not knead it. Gather dough into ball. Turn out onto lightly floured surfaced and knead lightly just until dough holds together, about 1 minute.
Quickly and carefully take your baking dish out of the oven. Sprinkle some cornmeal or semolina (or any granulated flour) into the bottom. Plop the dough into the baking dish. Cut 1-inch-deep X across top of bread, extending to the edges. Bake for approximately 20 to 25 minutes covered and 10 minutes uncovered. The bread should make a hollow sound when you tap the bottom. Transfer bread to rack and cool completely.
Going vegan is not about you and your preferences and your lifestyle. It is about animals. It is about what you owe to them. Going vegan is easier than ever. For how, check out https://www.internationalvegan.org