Saint Patrick’s Day is just two weeks away, and while I am neither Irish and nor really into holidays that don’t involve getting a day off work, I do savor any excuse to make Irish soda bread.
Although this loaf is exactly what I expect when I think of soda bread, the Internet tells me that True, Authentic Irish soda bread would never contain raisins, caraway, or sugar, as these bourgeois items would never have been found in the pockets of the Irish proletariat. To dispel this myth, there’s even a Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread. Yeah, folks have a lot of time on their hands.
Look, y’all, I back the IRA as much as the next self-respecting radical, and I sympathize with the fact that all too many recipes get totally bastardized at the hands of American cooks. If you are seeking traditional Irish fare this month, I recommend whipping up some cheap, hearty, and easily veganized colcannon and checking out my recipe for vegan corned beef seitan. But, authentic or not, this version of soda bread is tasty as heck, and I stand by it. Tender and slightly sweet, even the raw dough is delicious. This bread is crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle, and is best eaten warm, right out of the oven. I’m getting light-headed just thinking about it.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, the trademark “X” marking this bread didn’t come about because it was invented by straight edge warriors. Though the resultant cross may have warded off evil spirits (and British colonizers), the almighty Internet tells me this practice was probably adopted to ensure that the bread would cook evenly. So don’t forget to X up … your dough. (That’s funny, right?)
- 1½ c unsweetened soy milk
- 1½ Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 c white flour
- 2 c whole wheat flour
- ½ c sugar
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 Tbsp vegan margarine
- 1 c currants or raisins
- 1 tsp caraway seeds, optional
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Lightly grease a baking sheet.
- In a small bowl, combine soy milk and lemon juice. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, sift together flours, sugar, soda, and salt.
- With a pastry blender or two knives, cut butter into dry mixture.
- Create a well and pour in soy milk mixture and currants.
- On a lightly floured surface, gently knead just until the dough comes together, 10 or 12 turns. Do not overwork or you’ll end up with a tough mess!
- Shape into a disc about 1½” in height.
- Cut an “X” into the top with a serrated knife and bake on prepared sheet for 40-45 minutes.