Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Irish I had Some Soda Bread

It all started this past February when I was cruising facebook and saw a link posted by one of my favourite restaurants.  It sent me to an article about how this restaurant's owner would be entering St Catharine's Downtown Chili Cook off. I was so excited that there would be a vegan option at this event! I knew as soon as I saw the article I had to rally my friends to go.
Me and some friends at the Cook off
From Left to Right: Andrea, Me (eating a piece of the delicious bread) Sam and Melinda
Fast-forward to the Cook off me and a bunch of friends went and taste tested as many chili's as possible. Unfortunately there were only two vegetarian chili's at this event, but they were both amazing! My vegetarian friend and I used up all our sample tickets on these vendors and to get a pieces of bread from some of the non-vegan chili booths. At one of the vendors there was Irish soda bread accompanying their chili. After trying this bread I knew I needed to make my own at home right away! 
After a few test loaves I came up with a recipe that turned out even better than the original bread I had had at the Cook off! I  have made this bread several time since for my friends and family and they have all loved it! Feel free to improvise with the add-in's. I am thinking of trying a cinnamon raisin version next!
Irish Soda Bread
Makes One Large Loaf

1 1/2 cup plain soy milk *
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 cups unbleached white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup add-ins 
In these pictures I used sunflower seeds in the bread and pressed a few pumpkin seeds on top and sprinkled the loaf with kosher salt. 
I have also used currants, raisins and even added in a tablespoon of herb and garlic seasoning. Get creative!

Start by preheating the oven to 375 degrees.

Whisk the soy milk and lemon juice together and let sit and curdle for 10 minutes.

Mix the flour, baking soda and salt together in a bowl and make a well in the centre.

Slowly add the milk in 3 equal parts and mix with a fork or spoon after each add. Once all the liquid is combined and has formed a dough remove it from the bowl and place it on a floured cutting board. Knead the dough for approximately one minute.

Knead in the add-in of choice and form the bread into a round disk. Score two 2.5-centimeter deep cuts into the bread so they form an X shape.

Place loaf on a floured baking sheet and bake it for approximately 35-40 minutes. You will be able to tell if it is done by picking up the loaf and tapping on the bottom. If it sounds hollow it is finished.

Serve with jam, natural peanut butter or vegan margarine

The real kicker of the cook off? The vegan chili took home first place :)

* As I am allergic to almonds I haven't tried almond milk with the recipe. I have tried soy and rice milk and this recipe and both turned out well. My family preferred the bread made with rice milk and I preferred the bread made with soy. 

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