Irish Soda Bread

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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 1700s in a book titled The First American Cookbook: A Facsimile of "American Cookery," 1796, written by Amelia Simmons. This bread was initially made using dairy-derived buttermilk; however, making this plant-based version is just as easy and delicious!

Preheat the oven to 375°

Line a round cake or loaf pan with lightly oiled parchment paper.

1 3/4 cups non-dairy milk
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

3 vegan eggs: (3 tablespoons ground flaxseed OR 4 1/2 teaspoons Ener-G Egg Replacer + 6 tablespoons warm water

4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold vegan 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 5 to 10 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, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the butter and mix at low speed until the butter is roughly the size of peas. With the mixer on low speed, add the 'buttermilk' mixture and 'egg' mixture, and orange zest. Mix just until combined. Next, toss the currants in a small bowl with a tablespoon of flour, then add the currents to the dough. Mix just until everything is incorporated. Do not over-mix. The dough will be pretty wet and a bit "shaggy."

Turn the dough onto a well-floured board and knead for about a minute. Shape it into a ball and place it into the prepared pan. Pat it down slightly, then cut a large cross into the top of the bread using a serrated knife. (Scoring the top allows the center to bake evenly).

Lightly sprinkle the top with coarse sugar if using. (This is entirely optional but so good.)

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until the top is golden. Cover loosely with foil if the top starts to brown too fast.

Cool on a baking rack for 45 minutes to 1 hour before serving. Serve with non-dairy butter and marmalade. Soda bread can dry out quickly, so wrap it in an airtight bag and enjoy it within 2 to 3 days.