This vegan soda bread is a delicious crusty loaf with no yeast and no kneading - easy to make and dairy-free, with vegan yoghurt and milk replacing the traditional buttermilk.
If you like the idea of making your own bread but are a bit daunted by all that kneading, proving, and faffing about with yeast, then soda bread is definitely a good place to start!
It is so easy to make with just five ingredients, and will be in the oven in less than 10 minutes, (you can be slathering it with vegan butter just 40 minutes later!). It is the perfect loaf to make with small people around, as you don't need to start planning hours in advance, just make, bake, then eat.
Whether baking soda bread is for you a project to while away an hour in the kitchen, a fun activity to keep the kids amused for a while, or just a way of making a crusty loaf from ingredients you already have in the cupboard to avoid a trip to the shops, this straightforward recipe is a great place to start.
This tastes great as it is, but the recipe is also a perfect starting point for experimenting with flavour combinations. I've suggested four of my favourites below, but get creative and scour your cupboards for new ideas - the sky is the limit!
📝 What you need
Flour Use a good quality plain flour for soda bread. Don't be tempted to use self-raising instead, it contains baking powder which will make your loaf a bit cake-y rather that bready. A combination of 50/50 wholemeal and white flour would also work well here.
Bicarbonate of soda The raising agent that gives soda bread its name. If you don't use it very often, do check that yours is still in date. Once you've opened a tub it lasts about six months before it begins to lose its potency, so if yours has been lurking in the cupboard for years it might be worth getting a new one.
Dairy-free yoghurt Make sure you use unsweetened yoghurt, you don't want to add any sweetness to this bread. I tend to use either soya or oat yoghurt.
Dairy-free milk Again, make sure it is unsweetened for the same reason, and again oat or soya both work well.
The lovely thing about soda bread is that you don't need any fancy equipment at all - just a large bowl, your hands, a baking tray and an oven!
You can use this basic soda bread recipe to make all sorts of lovely loaves. Here are a few of my favourite flavours:
- 'Cheese' and Jalapeño Add 75g grated vegan cheese to the flour in step 2, (something like Violife Epic or Applewood Smoked), followed by 2 tablespoon roughly chopped jalepeño slices from a jar.
- Sun-dried Tomato Roughly chop about 100g sun-dried tomatoes from a jar and toss them through the flour in step 2.
- Olive and Pine Nut Slice some de-stoned green or kalamata olives (from a jar is fine), and toss through the flour in step 3 followed by 3 tablespoon pine nuts.
- Potato and Rosemary Peel and grate a medium-sized potato into the flour, finely chop the leaves from 2 rosemary stalks, and add 50g grated vegan cheese. Continue the recipe from step 3 onwards.
❄️ Freezing and Storing
Soda bread doesn't keep particularly well, (though it is so delicious it won't last long anyway!). It is at its best when still warm from the oven, and makes lovely toast the following morning but that's about it - you won't get a second day's lunch out of it, I'm afraid.
However, soda bread does freeze well - I recommend slicing it first, then popping in the freezer. That way you can put a slice straight from the freezer into the toaster, the best way to keep it moist and fresh - really delicious!
Slather with vegan butter (the block butters are the best), and homemade jam (have you tried my morello cherry & raspberry jam?) or if it is brunch or lunch, my sun-dried tomato vegan pâté takes just five minutes to whizz up and is totally delicious!
Vegan Soda Bread
- 500 g plain flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 200 g unsweetened dairy-free yoghurt
- 200 g unsweetened dairy-free milk
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (fan) / 400°F / Gas Mark 6. Grease a large baking tray with a little oil.
- Sift the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl.
- Add the dairy-free yoghurt and milk and stir until a smooth dough is formed - it is easiest to bring it together with your hands.
- Knead the dough lightly in the bowl, just for a minute, but not any longer.
- Tip the dough onto the baking tray and roughly shape into a circle. Dust it generously with flour.
- Use a sharp serrated knife (a bread knife is perfect) to cut a large cross through the dough - about half way through the dough.
- Bake the loaf for 40-45 minutes until it sounds hollow when you tap on the bottom.
- If you prefer a softer, chewy crust, wrap the loaf in a clean tea towel the minute it comes out of the oven. If you prefer it crispy, just leave it to cool on a wire rack. Serve whilst still warm from the oven, spread with vegan butter.
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