Vegan Fennel Seed Irish Soda Bread
- 2 cups whole wheat flour 260 g
- 3/4 tsp baking soda 5 g
- 1/2 tsp fine salt 3 g
- 1 tbsp whole fennel seeds 6 g
- 1 cup plant milk (I've tried coconut milk and soy milk; both work) 250 g
- 1 tbsp white vinegar or apple cider vinegar 15 g
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, and fennel seeds with a fork.
- Stir the vinegar into the plant milk, and pour into the flour mixture. Mix thoroughly with fork. The batter will be quite wet and lumpy.
- Pour batter into a parchment-lined, oven-safe pot (I used a stainless steel saucepan). Dust with a little wheat bran or more flour.
- Bake at 375 °F, uncovered, for 35–40 minutes.
- Transfer to a cooling rack and let it come completely to room temperature before slicing.
I have tried homemade soy milk in this recipe and also the canned type of coconut milk (not the carton kind for drinking). If you’re okay with dairy, buttermilk can be used instead of the milk and vinegar for a more traditional, non-vegan soda bread.
The Story of Irish Soda Bread
Did you know that there’s a whole website dedicated to this staple of Irish diets back in the day? The Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread “encourage[s] modern bakers to get in touch with their Irish roots and use the traditional ingredients/recipes” when baking. It consists of a few pages of history with extensive lamentation of the current state of public perception re Irish soda bread, and all the things that should not be going into it (sugar, eggs, cream, chocolate chips… wow people have come up with so many variations on this bread).
I have no Irish roots of any kind, and I’m not sure how the Society would feel about my recipe since it doesn’t stick with the traditional ingredient of dairy milk. But thank you Ireland for popularizing this nice, fuss-free bread that relies only on the humble baking soda for its rise!
The Easiest Bread Recipe
Irish soda bread got a shout-out recently on this season’s Great British Bake Off. All of the bakers were doing something really fancy to impress Paul, but this recipe is just the barest bones of a soda bread plus the addition of fennel seeds. You could try other spices and add-ins as well, but I have this huge bag of fennel that I’m trying to work into as many recipes as I can, and it turns out they work really well in bread.
Soda bread is a pretty easy recipe for beginner bread bakers. There’s no need for kneading and it all comes together in one bowl. It’s also a great recipe for impatient bakers, because this bread rises with the power of baking soda rather than yeast. That means you don’t have to wait around for the dough to rise before tossing it into the oven.
It’s traditional to slash a cross or X shape onto the top of the bread before baking, I prefer to leave this step out however to allow the bread to achieve a more rounded shape.
Fennel Seed Grilled Cheese Idea
Guys this soda bread is wonderful in a grilled cheese. Especially gouda!! I made one with some Dutch pumpkin seed carrot gouda. I bet cheddar would work great too.
Nutrition and Cost Information
An entire boule of this vegan soda bread costs only $0.40 and I got eight thick slices out of it! (That works out to roughly 130 cal per slice.) It’s amazing how inexpensive a simple loaf of homemade bread really is. And it beats grocery store bread for sure. I dare you to find a fennel seed bread for 40 cents at your local supermarket.