Want to make soda bread without buttermilk? No problem! My No Buttermilk Soda Bread takes just 40 minutes to make, involves no kneading or proving, and is suitable for vegans and those following a dairy free diet…and anyone who just doesn’t happen to have any buttermilk handy!
I LOVE soda bread – for me it is one of the most wonderful things ever invented. Bread that you can make in less than 40 minutes, which involves no kneading and no proving and only 10 minutes hands on time AND only a few simple ingredients – but yet you still get all that warm, comforting, homemade bread smells and tastes AND all that ‘I just made my own bread’ smugness 😉
BUT there’s one big catch with soda bread – BUTTERMILK! It’s hard to track down, doesn’t last long…and I often forget to buy it…or else it gets missed off my supermarket delivery with that big fat ‘NO SUBSTITUTE AVAILABLE’ note next to it – gah!
Also having to have buttermilk on hand means you can’t just make regular buttermilk soda bread on a whim. And of course buttermilk makes it completely unsuitable for anyone following a dairy free or vegan diet…
But the thing is soda bread is SO EASY to make without buttermilk…and do you know what? It tastes exactly the same! (I used to taste wine for a living, so believe me I would notice if it tasted different…and it doesn’t!!)
So how do I make soda bread without buttermilk? Simple! Substitute buttermilk with the same quantity of a fairly neutral tasting dairy free milk (I like to use oat milk – my current fave brand is Oatly) and add a tablespoon of something acidic – I like to use apple cider vinegar, but lemon juice or white wine vinegar work brilliantly too. Don’t worry – your bread won’t take of vinegar…but the acidic element will react with the baking soda and make the bread rise.
If you don’t need this to be vegan or dairy free, you can of course just use normal cow’s milk…but you will still need that tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice.
As for the flour element – you can use anything you want, but I went for a mix of white and brown flour…and then threw in a handful of oats for good measure. But I have also made this with rye flour, which tastes delicious, and you can add in any nuts and seeds you fancy. Pumpkin seeds are particularly yummy in soda bread.
One thing to note – soda bread is not the same as yeasted bread. While it does rise, it’s more dense and ‘stodgy’ than normal bread. The dense texture is something I personally love, but it’s not to everyone’s taste – so I thought I better warn you!
It also doesn’t keep as well as normal yeasted bread…but that’s OK because it’s so delicious, there’s not likely to be any left…and if you do have some that’s gone a bit stale…it makes GREAT toast!
As for what to serve this with – this bread is perfect with a wholesome vegetable soup!! You can have the bread cooking away in the oven, while you prepare your soup on the stove. Alternatively, this No Buttermilk Soda Bread is great with a simple salad, a vegetable stew, a curry…or whatever you want to pair it with! I made this particular loaf to go with my Sweet Potato and Red Lentil Soup (also vegan) and it was the perfect pairing.
But this No Buttermilk Soda Bread would also go brilliantly with my Spicy Moroccan Chickpea Soup, my Butternut Squash, Chilli and Coconut Milk Soup or my Butternut Squash, Cauliflower and Red Lentil Dhal.
No Buttermilk Soda Bread (Vegan & Dairy Free)
- 200 g plain white flour
- 150 g wholemeal flour
- 50 g oats plus extra to scatter on top
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda see note 1
- 300 ml neutral tasting dairy free milk see note 2
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice, or white wine vinegar – see note 3)
- Preheat your oven to 220C / 200C fan / gas mark 7 / 425F. Dust a baking tray (I actually use a pizza tray) with a little plain flour.
- Mix all the dry ingredients together thoroughly. Add the oat milk and vinegar, and stir to combine.
- Keep stirring until the ingredients come together as a dough, then squidge together to form a ball.
- Place the ball of dough on your baking tray and cut a deep cross in the centre. This is really important as it helps the centre of the bread to cook properly – so cut nice and deep, almost to the bottom.
- If you wish, you can dust the loaf with a little flour and a sprinkle of oats, then place the bread in your preheated oven for 30 minutes.
- Serve with soup or salad or anything else you fancy! (And don’t forget it makes great toast the next day…)
- Baking soda is the same as bicarbonate of soda, however it is not the same as baking powder. Make sure you use baking soda/bicarbonate of soda in this recipe. Baking powder will not give the same result!
- Try to use a fairly neutral tasting dairy free milk such as oat milk, cashew milk, almond milk or soy milk. A strongly flavoured milk such as coconut milk will give this bread a coconutty taste! (which is fine…so long as that’s what you are after!) Of course if you don’t need this recipe to be dairy free / vegan you can use regular milk.
- Use a fairly mild tasting acidic element – for example lemon juice, apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar – using something stronger, such as malt vinegar, will result in your bread having a vinegary taste!
- Flour does vary in absorbency, so you may find if you add all the buttermilk (or buttermilk alternative) your dough is too wet. To avoid this, add the liquid slowly and stop when the dough is soft and sticky but still able to hold a shape.
- If you find your dough is too wet, add extra flour until it is able to hold its shape.
- Suitable for freezing.
- Nutrition information is approximate and meant as a guideline only.
Want to find more great vegetarian meal ideas? Check out my collection of Easy Peasy Vegetarian & Vegan Recipes…
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