Is it possible to bake soda bread without buttermilk or yogurt, completely dairy-free? My quick and easy Vegan Soda Bread recipe proves exactly that!
Most of you have now come across or heard about quick and easy recipe for delicious and yeast-free soda bread.
It has become something of a staple for so many of us when said yeast became difficult to come by.
My Irish Soda Bread with Yogurt recipe has become a favourite for so many of you and I truly hope that my no-buttermilk, no-yogurt and dairy-free version will follow suit.
Soda bread without buttermilk
Buttermilk is one of the main ingredients in classic Irish soda bread but as you already know if you've made my Irish Soda Bread with Yogurt, it can be easily substituted.
Ideal substitute will be equally acidic and will therefore react with baking soda and cause bread to rise (hence the use of yogurt in my Irish soda bread).
Here I wanted to go one step further and make my soda bread completely dairy-free and vegan too. It was easier than you might think!
What can I substitute buttermilk or yogurt with in soda bread?
The answer is super simple!
How about your favourite plant or nut milk and some apple cider vinegar?
Since we've gone plant based oat milk has become our milk of choice (I make it myself - recipe coming soon) but any neutral tasting plant/nut milk will do (soya milk would be my other favourite).
You can either mix your plant milk with apple cider vinegar and wait for it to curdle giving that buttermilk like consistency (soya milk is great for that, oat one not so much) or simply add milk and then vinegar to your dry ingredients one after the other. You will find full details and method below.
Flour - One of the great things about soda bread is that it doesn't require any special bread type flour and you can make it with the simplest plain/all-purpose flour if that's all you've got.
I like to make mine using a mixture of half plain and half wholemeal or spelt flour for that extra boost of fibre.
Baking Soda - Raising agent which in combination with the acid from vinegar will make your vegan soda bread rise beautifully.
Salt - I have been using fine Pink Himalayan Salt for a while now and absolutely love it as it is rich in mineral content and free of any unnecessary additives you find in table salt. Fine sea salt would be good as well.
Feel free to play with the amount of salt if you want. Anything between 1-2 teaspoon will work here depending on your tastebuds.
Oat milk - It is my preferred plant milk as I find it most versatile and neutral in flavour. I also make it myself (recipe coming soon) and have it in my fridge at all times. Feel free to use any other plant/nut milk you like. Soya milk would be another one I would recommend here if you're after neutral tasting plant milk.
Apple Cider Vinegar - Together with baking soda it is our catalyst making vegan soda bread rise.
You could use same amount of lemon juice instead.
Mixed Seeds - Optional but a nice touch especially if you like seeded breads. I like to use a mixture of sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
If you go heavy handed on sunflower seeds you might notice your soda bread has got that slight green hue to it. Nothing to worry about here, it's the seeds reacting with baking soda (completely harmless).
Pro tips for soda bread success!
- Always pre-heat the oven first! Soda bread doesn't like to wait around and once you've mixed your dough and baking soda and vinegar got into reaction, you need to get that bread into the oven and pronto.
- Use simple oven thermometer to ensure the correct temperature of your oven. I know I've been going on about it recently but you would be surprised how unreliable oven thermostats are.
- Make sure you only add your milk and vinegar to the dry ingredients once your oven is nicely pre-heated and ready to go (see 1). Once shaped and ready, soda bread doesn't like to sit around.
- This simple vegan soda bread doesn't require much kneading at all. A little mixing and bringing the dough together with your hands is all it requires.
- You might need to adjust the amount of liquid depending on the flour you use (see paragraph below).
- Make sure not to skip the cross in the middle of the loaf. It isn't just for decoration but also ensures even baking.
Types of flour and amount of liquid in soda bread
I usually bake my soda bread with half plain (all-purpose) and half wholegrain spelt flour. After months of baking it this way I know that 350ml of oat milk is perfect amount of liquid for my loaf.
If you use just plain (all-purpose) flour you might not need as much liquid as that cause white, processed flours are usually less "thirsty". You could start with anything between 300-325ml as if you go for full 350ml you might have to add extra flour as your dough will be too wet.
On the flip side, if you go for 100% wholemeal, spelt or rye flour you might need a bit more liquid as these flours tend to be more "thirsty".
***TOP TIP*** You don't want for your dough to be neither too sticky and wet nor too dry. You should be able to bring it nicely together without too much dough getting stuck to your hands. Use more flour or liquid as required.
Storing & Freezing
Soda bread is at its absolute best on the day you bake it, still slightly warm.
It will, however, taste lovely the next day and even the day after that and it also makes a fantastic toast!
Like with most breads, vegan soda bread is freezer friendly. Personally, I like to freeze it sliced and take it out of the freezer and straight into my toaster as and when I need it.
You can also freeze the entire loaf but make sure to cool it completely first.
Vegan soda bread serving suggestions
Soup, soup and more soup!
Soda bread is absolutely perfect as a side with lovely homemade soup!
If this is not your first visit to my blog you already know my love for soup and the list below is by no means exhaustive.
This delicious and quick, yeast-free bread is also perfect at breakfast with an array of homemade spreads and preserves.
How to make vegan soda bread - step-by-step instructions
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6.
Put all your dry ingredients in a large bowl (including the seeds if using) and give them a good mix with a spoon or a whisk.
Make a small well in the centre and pour in your plant milk quickly followed by apple cider vinegar.
Give it all a quick mix with a spoon and once dough starts coming together get in and mix it gently with your hand before you turn it out onto lightly floured surface. There is no need for heavy kneading, you just want to make sure that all your ingredients are well incorporated. Add a touch more flour or milk if required.
Once on the counter bring the dough together to form a neat round and transfer it onto baking sheet lined with baking paper and sprinkled with some flour.
Using a dough scraper or a knife cut a large cross in the middle of the loaf ( about two thirds down through the loaf). Make sure you are careful not to cut your loaf into 4 pieces.
Sprinkle over some extra seeds if desired and bake in pre-heated oven for 30 minutes until golden and sounds hollow when tapped underneath.
Once ready, transfer your soda bread to cooling rack to cool slightly before you cut into it.
Have you tried my Vegan Soda Bread?
Please consider giving it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating in recipe card below and share your views or tips in the comments.
Check out my other bread recipes
Vegan Soda Bread (No Buttermilk)
- 250 g plain (all-purpose) flour see notes
- 250 g wholemeal/spelt flour see notes
- 1 teaspoon fine salt see notes
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 4 tablespoon mixed seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, linseed) optional
- 350 ml oat/soya milk see notes
- 1.5 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
- extra flour for dusting, baking sheet and sprinkling over unbaked loaf
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6.
- Put all your dry ingredients in a large bowl (including the seeds if using) and give them a good mix with a spoon or a whisk.
- Make a small well in the centre and pour in your plant milk quickly followed by apple cider vinegar.
- Give it all a quick mix with a spoon and once dough starts coming together get in and mix it gently with your hand before you turn it out onto lightly floured surface. There is no need for heavy kneading, you just want to make sure that all your ingredients are well incorporated. Add a touch more flour or milk if required.
- Once on the counter bring the dough together to form a neat round and transfer it onto baking sheet lined with baking paper and sprinkled with some flour.
- Using a dough scraper or a knife cut a large cross in the middle of the loaf ( about two thirds down through the loaf). Make sure you are careful not to cut your loaf into 4 pieces.
- Sprinkle over some extra seeds if desired and bake in pre-heated oven for 30 minutes until golden and sounds hollow when tapped underneath.
- Transfer your soda bread to cooling rack to cool slightly before you cut into it.
- Nutritional information is approximate, per slice and should be treated as a rough guideline only.
- Fell free to use mixture of flours as I have or go full plain (all-purpose) or full wholegrain. You might need to adjust the amount of liquid you'll need depending on the flour(s) you use (details in the post above).
- Feel free to adjust the amount of salt to your liking. Some might find 1 teaspoon of salt per 500g flour not enough. Feel free to go up to 2 teaspoon if you want.
- Oat milk is my preferred plant milk but any neutral tasting one will be fine here.
- Always pre-heat the oven first!
- Use simple oven thermometer to ensure the correct temperature of your oven.
- Make sure you only add your milk and vinegar to the dry ingredients once your oven is nicely pre-heated and ready to go (see 1). Once shaped and ready, soda bread doesn’t like to sit around.
- Don't knead the loaf too much! Simply bring it all together to form round shaped loaf.
- You might need to adjust the amount of liquid depending on the flour you use.
- Make sure not to skip the cross in the middle of the loaf. It isn’t just for decoration but also ensures even baking.