Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Soda Bread Farls #BreadBakers

Perfect for a quick breakfast or snack with a cup of tea, soda bread farls are quick bread “baked” on a stovetop griddle, rather than an oven. They are a traditional part of the Northern Ireland breakfast known as the Ulster Fry.

The word farl is pronounced farrel and derives from the old Scots word fardel, which essentially means “a quarter.” The source of the name becomes apparent when you see to make farls you flatten dough into a circle and cut it into four pieces before cooking.

Soda Bread Farls are very similar in texture to American buttermilk biscuits or British scones. The dough comes together quickly with just flour, baking soda, salt and buttermilk.

For this post, I decided to make what I call an adulterated Ulster Fry to accompany the soda bread farls. Properly, that breakfast would include the farls, of course, plus sausage, bacon, black and white pudding, fried eggs and tomatoes. Mine included sausage, black pudding, fried eggs and mushrooms. Totally delicious and perfect for a long weekend morning. We weren’t hungry again till almost suppertime!

Ingredients – for 4 farls
2 cups or 250g all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup or 240ml buttermilk
Lard or oil for frying (I used bacon drippings.)

Measure the dry ingredient together into a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine. This aerates the flour and takes the place of sifting.

Pour in the buttermilk and use a firm rubber spatula to mix it in to make a soft dough.

Flour a clean work surface and scrape the dough out on to it.

Flour the top of the dough and your hands and lightly knead the dough. You may have to sprinkle on more flour to keep it from sticking to your surface. Lightly press the dough into a circle about 8 in or 20cm across and about 1/2 in or 1cm thick. Sprinkle on a little more flour and flip the circle over.

Preheat heavy based flat griddle or skillet on medium to low heat.

Flour a sharp knife and cut the dough circle into quarters.

Add a couple of teaspoons of lard (or oil) to the preheated griddle and transfer the farls to the pan when the lard is melted and hot.

Cook the farls for about 3-4 minutes on that first side, watching carefully that they don’t burn.

Add a little more lard or oil and turn the farls over. Cook them for about 10-12 minutes in total, turning regularly so that they cook evenly.

Serve with just butter and jam or as part of a big breakfast.

We loved these! The only thing I’d do differently the next time is to cut the dough circle into eighths instead of quarters, which would change the name I suppose. Don’t think about it too much. Just make them! They "bake" up nicely.

Our Bread Bakers host this month is Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm. She challenged us to bake an Irish bread since, of course, St. Patrick’s Day is this week. Who knew there were so many? Check them out!
#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

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