The scent of fresh baked bread is the ultimate comfort food for me, and I didn’t know it at the time, but Irish bread was the beginning of my baking journey a long time ago. I grew up watching my mother whip up batches of brown bread, soda bread, and griddle bread, which she learned from her mother and my dad’s mother. As a child, I had the good fortune to get back to Ireland every few summers where I would get to sit at my grandmother’s kitchen table in a little rural area of County Wicklow and try to wait for bread to cool so my brother and I could cover it in jam and eat more than our fill of it. It turns out that my grandmother made Irish bread as a household staple for her 15, yes 15, children. I bet that she could make a perfect loaf standing on her head if she had to. Both she and my mother always just know when it’s done, when it needs more milk, more kneading etc. and I always think a little bit more about my love for Irish bread when St. Patrick’s Day rolls around.
Today’s recipe is a version of Irish Soda Bread with Raisins that I modified to be vegan. The traditional recipe gets a lot of its texture from full-fat milk, but I’ve used a combination of coconut milk and apple cider vinegar as a substitute for dairy that has a similar constitution as a creamy buttermilk. This bread is rustic, simple, and cozy. I’ve added a couple pictures of the dough in progress so you can get an idea of its texture along the way. Within one hour, you can have the scent of fresh-baked Vegan Irish Soda Bread filling your home. Serve it warm with vegan butter, your favorite jam or fruit spread, and have a very happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Vegan Irish Soda Bread with Raisins
- 2 cups Coconut Milk
- 2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
- 3 cups Flour
- 2 teaspoons Baking powder
- 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1 tablespoon Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 1/2 cups Raisins
1. Pour 2 cups coconut milk into a bowl and add in the apple cider vinegar.
2. Mix and allow to stand for 10 minutes so the vinegar will react with the coconut milk and thicken a little bit.
3. Pre-heat the oven to 400°F and grease a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
4. In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and baking soda. Mix together until all combined and add in the raisins.
5. Toss the raisins in the flour mixture to get well covered.
6. Pour 1/3 to ½ of the coconut milk and vinegar mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until mixed and a sticky dough begins to form. Continue this process until you have used all of the coconut milk.
7. Generously cover a clean counter or large cutting board with flour and dump the sticky dough onto the floured surface.
8. Cover your hands in a little bit of flour and sprinkle more flour on top of the dough. Using your hands, knead the dough by using one hand to pull the dough from underneath and pressing on top while you use the other hand to turn the dough.
9. Sprinkle more flour onto the dough as needed (tip: if you can feel sticky dough clinging to your hands, you need to add more flour).
10. Continue kneading the dough until you have created a smooth surface on the bottom of the dough (you’ll feel the bread flatten into a rounded shape on the bottom as you go). There will be an open fold towards the center, top of the kneaded dough.
11. Flip the dough over so that the smooth side is on top and etch a cross into the top with a sharp knife to allow steam to escape while cooking.
12. Place the dough onto the baking tray and bake for approximately 40 minutes. My mother’s directions for knowing if your bread is done or not is to knock on the bottom of it (the same way you would knock on a door) and it should sound hollow.
13. Allow the bread to cool for 20-30 minutes before slicing with a serrated knife, top with vegan butter, jam, or marmalade and serve with a piping hot cup of tea.
Also by Colette: Vegan Bailey’s No-Bake Cheesecake
Related: Sugar-Free Cardamom Bread
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Photos: Colette Goguen