Whole-Wheat Irish Soda Bread

soda breadIt takes just about an hour to make this Irish soda bread from start to finish, but that’s not the best thing about it. The reason I love this bread so much is because it is beautifully textured and light and intensely flavorful.

I pack more flavor and health into my soda bread by making it with whole wheat. This is a great bread for those days when you would love a homemade loaf don’t have the time to bake a yeasted one. Soda bread, as the name suggest, of course uses baking soda and not yeast as a leavening agent which means it does not have to go through all the rising and kneading that yeasted bread does.

Try not to knead your soda bread dough too much–instead treat it as you would a pie dough. The resulting bread will look a little rough around the edges but it tastes superb. That is because not kneading the dough keeps the gluten from getting too active and results in a tender, lighter loaf. The cream of tartar used in this recipe also helps give an airier crumb, but if you can’t find it, use 1 tbsp baking powder instead.

These are busy days so I don’t have time to chat, much as I love to, but I’ll be back, trust me.

Meanwhile, enjoy some bread!
Irish Soda Bread


Whole-Wheat Irish Soda Bread
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Bread
Cuisine: Irish
Serves: 8
  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1½ tsp baking soda
  • 1½ tsp cream of tartar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1½ cups soymilk + 1 tbsp vinegar, whisked together and set aside to curdle around 10 minutes
  • 2 tbsp oil
  1. Mix together the dry ingredients. Then add the soymilk-vinegar mixture and oil and, using a ladle or spatula, mix until just combined.
  2. Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface and push together with your palms to form a circle. Don't knead to get a smooth look because-- as I said before-- you don't want to over-activate the gluten.
  3. With a sharp, serrated knife, cut a fairly deep cross all across the top of the loaf. This will puff out and separate when you bake the loaf, allowing both the gases to escape as well as giving the loaf a pretty look.
  4. Place in a lightly oiled cast-iron skillet or on a baking sheet and bake in a 375-degree oven about 55 minutes until the top is golden brown and the bottom of the loaf is firm. Brush the top with some vegan butter or oil to get a glossier look.
  5. Cool thoroughly on a rack before slicing or cutting into wedges.
  6. Enjoy!


Vegan Soda Bread
For other great whole-wheat breads, try my French Bread, my Sandwich Bread, or my soymilk pompoms.

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

16 thoughts on “Whole-Wheat Irish Soda Bread

  1. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    September 24, 2009 at 6:25pm

    Such a gorgeous irish soda bread Vaishali…Will try out soon..

  2. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    September 24, 2009 at 7:28pm

    Wow looks flaky and airy .. looks so tempting vaishali.. Noted down the recipe..

  3. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    September 24, 2009 at 8:52pm

    hi vaishali..i have recently become vegan since last 2 months..i was wondering if cream of tartar was vegan or where did you find a vegan cream of tartar

  4. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    September 24, 2009 at 10:04pm

    No Yeast, then I must try. I am waiting to get over the yeast ghost.The bread looks great with the beautiful texture.

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    September 24, 2009 at 10:04pm

    Happy, Priya, Pavithra, Preeti: Thanks.

    Anonymous, cream of tartar is the sediment deposited along the sides of the barrels used to make wine, so I’d say it’s definitely vegan. It is used often by bakers to stabilize egg whites, which is why you might have gotten confused. Hope this helps clarify :)

    Parita, thanks.

  6. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Jaya Wagle

    September 24, 2009 at 10:36pm

    That bread looks gorgeous Vaishali. The closest we came to a soda bread was a few months ago when T made a Tibetan soda bread in a skillet on the stove. He liked it more than I did.
    After a few failed attempts a couple of years ago, T and I have stopped baking breads at home. I think it had something to do with the apt. oven we had. But visiting your blog and checking out all the delicious breads you make, I have been nagging T to collaborate with me again. Will let you know soon if we make one of them.

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    September 25, 2009 at 12:59am

    Looks great. Thanks for ur advise on how to use miso, I have to try them. Happy Friday Vaishali.

  8. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    September 25, 2009 at 2:38am

    Irish soda bread is great for beginner baker! Making healthy is wonderful!

  9. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    September 25, 2009 at 2:55pm

    THe bread looks fluffy, love this instant bread :)

  10. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Priya Narasimhan

    September 25, 2009 at 3:39pm

    I was surprised to see your post without an introduction not relating to food. but the last statement by gary larson is a fitting end to the post. I have seen so many irish soda breads..have to try one..yours looks very nice.

  11. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Sushma Mallya

    September 27, 2009 at 5:47am

    Thanks for dropping by vaishali and leaving a lovely comment as well…U have a great blog….and this bread looks perfectly baked and must be as good as it looks…will surely try this one…do keep in touch and take care

  12. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    September 27, 2009 at 4:08pm

    i tried this bread and it was delicious! we had it fresh from the oven with melted sunflower butter and cauliflower soup, it was like eating autumn. thank you :)

  13. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    September 28, 2009 at 1:32pm

    Jenny, your meal sounds wonderful– glad you liked the bread, and thanks for letting me know :)

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