Soda Farls

We had a nice St.Patrick’s day, as my husband and son were off work/school, we enjoyed small holiday this weekend.

We  went to see the parade in Derry (Londonderry) this year.
The parade was nice, except a huge dragon made my 3 years old son cry. He cried last year’s parade in Downpatrick as well. Poor wee man!

To celebrate St.Patrick’s day, I made those.

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Soda Farls.
A great Northern Ireland’s tradition in a edible form.

‘Soda’ is a traditional bread of Ireland.
In a good Belfast home bakery, you can see so many Irish/Northern Irish traditional breads, especially ‘soda’ type.
They aren’t raised with yeast like usual bread, but with bicarbonate soda (baking soda), thus the name ‘soda’ bread/farls.

Soda bread (usually cob shape, cross cut in the middle),
Wheaten bread (soda bread’s whole meal version, either cob or tin loaf shape, = ‘brown soda’),
Soda farls (baked flat on the griddle, 1/4 round shape),
Raisin or fruits soda (raisins in soda farls),
Treacle soda (black treacle= molasses syrup mixed in the soda farls, slightly brown and sweet)
Wheaten farls (wholemeal soda farls)

These are the type of soda type breads sold at my local bakery as much as I can recall now, and I haven’t even mentioned ‘potato bread’ yet. (I leave that for another day!)

Yes, we love our ‘soda’!

Soda farl is very important part of our ‘fry’.
Ulster fry, the fried breakfast, wont be ‘fry’ without one, along with potato bread.
I don’t do so much ‘fry’ (you can do veg version with veg sausage and stuffs), but we do ‘egg soda’ (fried soda farls with fried egg) time to time, and soda farl is also nice just toasted with butter and jam or cheese.

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Farls are made on a griddle.
The best farls I’ve ever tasted was  the one made on the top of wood fire griddle at Ulster Folk Museum. It must be how soda farls are made in good old days, and it was so tasty with the smell of coal.
I used the same griddle I used with Welsh cakes.

I made this for breakfast, it’s quick and easy because there is no need to prove like normal bread. You can eat it straight from oven, just cut in half, with butter. Or you can toast it, or shallow fry it. Yum!

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(make 8 farls)

450g plain flour
1 tbs sugar
1/2 tsp salt
7g baking soda
10g baking powder
20g butter
300g buttermilk ( if you cannot get butter milk, you can use 150g milk+150g yogurt)

1. Sieve all the dry ingredients into a bowl.
2. Rub butter into flour mix completely.
3. Make a well in the middle, add the buttermilk, mix them together. (like you are making scones)
4. Turn out the dough onto a well floured surface and gently knead into a round shape. (not over work, just make into a nice round ball.)
5. Divide into two and knead both to form round balls again.
6. Roll these out about 1.5cm thick, about 25cm in diameter and cut into quarters. (farl means quarter )
7. Preheat the griddle. (no oil) or heavy based frying pan.
8. Place the farls onto the preheated griddle and once you have a good colour on one side (2-3 mins), flip over and cook for 5-10 minutes.
9.If the middle is not squidgy, it is cooked. If it is still squidgy in the middle, just keep turning till it is cooked.
10. Cool on racks, and enjoy!

*I refereed to the recipe from Discover Northern Ireland, and altered it slightly according to the recipe which I use for soda bread which I got sometime ago.

(March 2014)


3 thoughts on “Soda Farls

  1. So interesting, I never knew about all the frys. And if you asked me what an “egg soda” was I would say of course a fizzy drink! For some reason it surprises me that they would even turn out fried in a pan, but they sound wonderful with all that buttermilk. And the treacle version would probably be a favorite of mine. Are they dense and chewy or more like pancakes?

    1. Soda farls are sold at bakery and supermarket, it’s everywhere in Northern Ireland! The texture is between scone and bread. Being cooked on the dry griddle, outside skin is slightly chewy (not crisp), but soft inside.
      Ulster fly is usually served with soda farls cut in half and shallow fried, potato bread also fried, sausage, bacon, and eggs. Some put tomato, black pudding, baked beans, mushrooms, etc as you would do for full English breakfast. Ulster one use sodas and potato bread instead of toast. 🙂 It’s a big breakfast to tackle, but people here says that they need it when they got hangover! Fancy try this for your next weekend breakfast?

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