Dill and Caraway Soda Bread

In keeping within the plant-strong guidelines of the 28 Day Health Challenge I’m testing out for Whole Foods Market, I made a hearty and tasty homemade lentil stew for dinner tonight.  Loaded with carrots, celery, tomatoes, lentils and my homemade vegetable broth, it was a comforting supper for a dreary and rainy evening.

To serve along with the stew, I baked a homemade loaf of soda bread.  Since I started this Challenge 15 days ago, I’ve looked longingly though my favorite cook books and the off-limits recipes they contain.  Eggs, meat, oil and dairy are not allowed during the challenge, so I can’t make many of my most favorite dishes.  I wanted to make the Rye Soda Bread in Heidi Swanson’s “Super Natural Everyday,” but since it calls for buttermilk I had to come up with my own version.

I know a good substitution for buttermilk is regular milk mixed with vinegar, so I swapped soymilk to stay on track.  And, for extra flavor I tossed in caraway seeds and dried dill.  The bread smelled delicious when taken from the oven, and it was delightfully crusty and warm.  I *might* have smeared a whisper of real butter on a slice…but…shhhhh..don’t tell anyone!!!

Dill and Caraway Soda Bread

2 1/3 cups rye flour

1 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour

1 3/4 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/4 teaspoons fine-grain sea salt

1 tablespoon dried dill

2 tablespoons caraway seeds

2 cups soy milk

3 teaspoons white vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine soy milk and vinegar in a small bowl.  Set aside.

Sift the flours, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.  Sprinkle dill and caraway seeds on top.  Make a well in the flour, and pour in the soy milk/vinegar.  Using a wooden spoon, gently stir just until the ingredients come together.  Lightly flour a countertop and turn the dough out.  Knead for about a minute – until the dough comes together and is starting to look smooth.  Shape into a lightly flattened ball.

Put the dough ball on a lightly floured baking sheet.  Brush the dough with a little soy milk, and lightly dust the top with flour.  Slice four deep slashes (two large X’s) across the top of the dough.  Sprinkle some extra caraway seeds on top and into the creases.

Bake for 30 minutes.  Move the bread and the rack up a level to toast the top of the bread.  Bake another 15-20 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack. Slice and enjoy!

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