By Kary Osmond

Entrée

Irish
Soda Bread

Makes 1 loaf

1 cup unsweetened almond or soy milk

1 tablespoons lemon juice or white vinegar

1 cup all-purpose flour (plus extra for dusting)

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 400 F.

2. Combine almond milk and lemon juice or vinegar. Set aside.

3. Whisk together all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl (make sure you mix it well to evenly disperse the soda and salt and to aerate the flour).

4. Pour in the almond milk mixture. Using the end of a wooden spoon, stir the mixture slowly until the almond milk mixture is incorporated.

5. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and LIGHTLY knead four times. Carefully shape dough into a circle and gently flatten to 2 inches thick. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Using a sharp knife, mark an “X,” from end to end on top of the loaf.

6. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, flip over the loaf and give it a tap with your knuckles. If it sounds hollow, it’s done!

7. Place on a cooling rack to cool. Slice and serve with butter.

Making bread from scratch is time-consuming, until now! Irish soda bread is the easiest bread ever to make. You’ll have the ingredients mixed and ready to put in the oven before the oven has finished pre-heating; that’s how fast it comes together. This is the kind of bread you serve with rich stew or curry, or even toasted with a spread of jam.

Soda bread is such a simple quick bread that you can make for St. Patrick’s Day. In Ireland, it’s not called Irish soda bread; it’s just called soda bread. And depending on the type of flour that’s used, it’s either called, brown soda bread (made with wheat flour) or white soda bread (made with white flour). I like to combine both. I use the whole-wheat flour for flavor and white flour for tenderness.

Traditional Irish soda bread has only four ingredients: flour, baking soda, buttermilk and salt. To make this recipe vegan, I’ve substituted the buttermilk for almond milk, plus lemon juice. Try making this basic recipe, and then start experimenting. You can add sugar and raisins if you want it a little sweeter, nuts and seeds for crunch, or even rosemary for a nose-tingling aroma.

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