Irish Soda Bread is a traditional quick bread that has been around for many years. The first soda bread recipe publicized in the US was in the late 1700's in a book titled The First American Cookbook: A Facsimile of "American Cookery," 1796, written by Amelia Simmons. This bread was initially made with the use of buttermilk, however, making this plant-based version is just as easy and even more delicious!
Preheat the oven to 375°
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
1 3/4 cups nondairy milk
1 tablespoon white distilled vinegar
3 tablespoons ground flaxseed or 4 1/2 teaspoons Ener-G Egg Replacer (the equivalent of 3 eggs)
1/2 cup water (6 tablespoons if using Ener-G)
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) Earth Balance Butter
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 cup dried currants
1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons coarse sugar (optional)
Combine the non-dairy milk and vinegar and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes. This mixture will act as your 'buttermilk' for the recipe. Next, mix the flaxseed and water (or Ener-G and water) and set it aside. This mixture will act as your 'egg.'
Meanwhile, in the bowl of your electric mixer, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add the butter and mix at low speed until the butter is the size of peas. With the mixer on low speed, add the 'buttermilk' and 'egg' mixtures, and the orange zest. Mix just until combined. Next, place the currants in a small bowl and sprinkle with a tablespoon of flour. Stir to coat; this will help keep the currants from sinking to the bottom. Add the currents. Mix just until everything is incorporated. Do not over mix. The dough will be very wet.
Turn the dough out onto a well-floured board. Knead the dough a few times, shaping it into a round loaf. Then place it on a prepared baking sheet, and lightly cut an X into the top of the bread with a serrated knife. Sprinkle the top with coarse sugar if using.
Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the top is golden and a cake tester comes out clean. When you tap the loaf, it will sound hollow.
Cool on a baking rack. Serve warm or toasted with non-dairy butter. Soda bread can dry out quickly, so wrap it in an airtight bag and enjoy within 2 to 3 days.