Rustic Irish Soda Bread (Dairy Free)

ng_irishsodabreadRustic soda bread, hot and fragrant, crunchy on the outside- soft on the inside, simple goodness-like a rustic scone- and just in time for Saint Patrick’s Day.

This is a dairy free, soaked recipe very similar to the buttermilk version I made here. This version also contains oatmeal for a lovely addition. The caraway seeds add so much flavor, and the raisins sweetness. But really could you add what you like! Nuts, seeds, dried fruit, it would all be good.

By the way, the traditional soda bread would be a very simple, basic loaf. None of these special ingredients added. For that matter, it also wouldn’t contain palm oil and coconut milk! But it sure tastes good this way!

Soda bread is an example ofย  ingenuity in cooking by using what’s available. It was developed because the Irish couldn’t grow hard wheat in which to make risen bread. I love this rustic loaf, so I am glad they invented it!

I use coconut milk tonic for my liquid base for a nice soft crumb, but I have made it with just plain water (with the vinegar added) before. It’s a bit drier but still good (it probably won’t last quite as long however). But feel free to play around with what dairy free milk you want to use. I imagine that a creamy almond milk would work great as well.

For an Irish feast, you can serve this with some frugal Irish Lamb Soup.



Irish Soda Bread (Dairy Free-Vegan)

Makes two small loaves, 16 slices
You can get Spectrum brand palm oil at many stores, labeled as “non-hydrogenated shortening”. I also melted coconut oil, added it to the liquid ingredients and mixed it up with good results too. Butter, of course, is traditional and can beย  used instead, with buttermilk as the liquid.

    4 cups of whole wheat pastry flour
    1/4 cup of non-hydrated organic palm oil
    1 cup of rolled oats
    1 1/2 Cups of Coconut Milk Tonic*
    2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or lemon juice

    1 1/2 tablespoons caraway seeds
    1 1/2 scant cups of currants or raisins (you can substitute half chopped walnuts)
    1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

* To make, empty one premium can of coconut milk (I like Thai Kitchen’s) into a half gallon mason jar or pitcher. Add 2 1/2 cups of water and mix well. I use this in all of my baked goods with great results.

1-The night before, add the pastry flour to a large bowl. Mix in the palm oil either using a pastry cutter or a “rubbing” it in with your finger. When the palm oil is cut into pea sized pieces, mix in the rolled oats. Add the coconut milk tonic and the vinegar and stir in. You will probably need to hand knead (do so right in the bowl) the last bit of flour in. When everything is combined, cover well and leave out on the counter top overnight.

2-When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl combine the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

3-Place your dough on your countersodabread1

And press out


Then pour your raisin mixture on top.


It will seem impossible to knead it in by looking at it, but don’t worry! It will. Fold your dough in half, over the raisin mixture.


Then press down with the flats of your hands until it looks like this.


Gather any loose raisins and place on top.


Then fold the dough inย  half again over the little raisinย  mixture.


Press this down


Continue this same process for a few more turns. This will be a messy project and it will seem like it will never get combined, but then you will get something that looks like this


At this point, you can try to round it up a little me into a ball and give a few kneads, just like a regular bread dough (it will be a stiffer dough however.) When everything seems mixed it, round it up into a ball.


Cut this ball in half, right down the middle. ng_sodabread12Then place your two halves cut side down.

ng_sodabread13And press down to about a 2 1/2 inch thickness (also round out the edges)ng_sodabread14Cut an X on the top of your loaf, and place on a jellyroll pan covered with parchment paper. ng_sodabread15It’s ready to bake! Place in the middle of your oven and bake for about 45 to 50 minutes. The tops and bottoms should be nice and browned when done.

Cool on cooling racks. Because soda bread can a be a little more crumbly, I suggest that you cut it into wedges to serve.


This post is part of Food Renegade’s Fight Back Friday! Check it out.

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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

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  1. says

    I made soda bread last St. Patrick’s day and it was SO good. I think I’ll try this recipe because it is all whole wheat and I think that would taste better.

    I’m loving your pictures more and more, friend! Makes me hungry ALL the time. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. says

    Hi! I just made some Irish Soda bread this morning, after adapting my “old family recipe” to the soaked method. It came out BEAUTIFULLY. Yet another product that soaking not only works with, but improves.

    And, as a side note, my Irish grandmother told me that they used to make the soda bread sour by soaking it for several days in (raw) cream until it soured, and then adding the rest of the ingredients. Yay for traditional foods! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. says

    Meg — What a neat thing for your grandmother to share. So many people argue that soaking bread is *not* traditional, and the truth is that it really is!

    Kimi — This totally wants me to eat grains, grains, and more grains! I’ve been trying to go grain-free for the last two weeks, but your pictures are tempting me away from my resolve. Lord have mercy.

    Thanks for the recipe and for joining in the carnival today!

    (AKA FoodRenegade)

  4. says

    Looks like a great recipe, but I want to make a comment about palm oil. Almost 90% of the world’s palm oil comes from Indonesia and Malaysia, including the Wilderness Family Naturals brand that you recommended above. As it stands now, the industry is not sustatainable; the creation of large palm oil plantations has resulted in widespread deforestation, threatening several rainforest species and contributing significantly to greenhouse gas emissions. The Rainforest Action Network’s website ( provides a lot of information on this topic, if you’re interested. National Geographic also ran a good (albeit very long) article about this recently:

  5. says

    Thanks for posting this recipe, I was hoping there was a soaked version out there somewhere, soda bread is a favorite in our house. I am really enjoying your recipes, they are a great resource for someone new to the Nourishing movement!

  6. Holly S. says

    Can you make this recipe with spelt flour? I am unable to digest wheat, but spelt is my usual substitute ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. KimiHarris says


    Hi friend! Good to hear from you. I love soda bread, and thinking about it is making me hungry too!


    That’s great! It’s so exciting when you are able to adapt something and have it turn out even BETTER! Good for you.


    LOL. Yeah, well after consuming waaaay too much soda bread over the last few days I kind of want a grain break!

    Hey Gina,

    Thanks for the comment and link. ๐Ÿ™‚ If you are concerned about palm oil, I think that coconut oil will work in this recipe, though won’t have quite the same texture.


    Thanks! We love soda bread too. This one tastes a little bit like a rustic scone (just sweetened with the raisins). I think you could make it sweet to be more like a scone, or make it more savory too! There are so many variations that would be good.

    It seems like spelt would work. Just be careful not to overwork the gluten. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. says

    You mentioned using almond milk in this recipe. Do you have any thoughts on almond milk for general drinking? Everyone I know seems to be going dairy free. I am apparently the only person left on the planet drinking cows milk. I am not in favor of soy milk and I’ve read, I think it was in The Makers Diet, to stay away from rice milk. Is there anything concerning that you know about with almond milk?

  9. says

    I made this tonight and it was great! Thanks so much for the recipe. My husband really liked it as well and said it was a keeper. The kids enjoyed it also.
    BTW, for the above commenter who was concerned about Palm Oil, the stuff from Tropical Traditions is from Colombia. I don’t know if the situation there is any different.
    I don’t know that I’ve commented before, but I really enjoy your blog and have made a few of your recipes. I’m only a couple months into learning about traditional foods and your blog has been helpful. Thanks again!

  10. callmegrace says

    i’m intrigued and can’t wait to try this bread!
    question: if i want to grind my own flour, do i just make it extra fine. or, is there some magic to creating pastry flour (using Champion juicer with grain mill attachment).

  11. callmegrace says

    Oh, I just read about pastry flour on your Buttermilk Soda Bread recipe. I imagine I can grind soft wheat finely to get pastry flour.
    Answered my own question ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. callmegrace says

    Hi Kimi,

    Love your site!

    I didn’t know much detail about different grains so I read up on them.

    From what I’ve gathered, flour from hard wheat berries has the highest content of gluten(12-13%) and is best for bread (where you need a “tough” dough).
    Then, all purpose flour (10-12% gluten) is actually a mix of high and low gluten wheat flours. Pastry flour (9-10%) gluten. And, cake flour (7-9%). Pastry and cake flours are made from soft wheat berries.

    What I’m trying to figure out is how I can mix different flours to make my own pastry flour with the grains I have (kamut, hard winter, buckwheat). If I can get the exact gluten amount in each, I suppose I can mix them together to get 9-10% gluten.

    We shall see:)


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