Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Farl, Farl Away

It was another snowstorm in Boston, in what has become a very white winter. We were 3 hours delayed getting out of Boston's Logan Airport on our way to London. Wearily, the next morning I went in search for comfort food for breakfast to go with my tea. I happened upon some Irish Soda Farl. What the F...arl?? I had never heard of it. Not even my Irish roots and foodie leanings had brought this comforting looking hunk of bread to my attention. I needed it. There aren't too many breads that haven't become my new best friend and especially if they are hot and fresh. Farl actually describes the size and shape of the bread. It is a term used in Ireland and Scotland for a piece of bread that is flat, about 3/4 inches thick and cut into a rough quarter circle shape. Who knew?! In Old Lowland Scots, fardell meant a fourth or a quarter. The word fardell was reduced in time to farl. This bread is super easy to make, and best eaten fresh. It doesn't have a long shelf life since it only has a small amount of oil in it. Make this rustic soda bread to soothe the inner chill and serve hot from the oven with unsalted, fresh creamery butter and my Blackberry Ginger Jam. Invite three friends to even out the circle and don't forget the tea!

Irish Soda Farl

2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons canola oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and with 1 tablespoon of the canola oil, and grease a 9 inch cast iron skillet.

In a large bowl mixing bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the buttermilk and remaining 1 tablespoon canola oil. Mix well with a spatula, without over mixing. Dough should hold together without being too sticky. On a lightly floured board, shape dough into a 9 inch round circle. Only add enough flour to just keep it from becoming too sticky. Put the dough circle into the greased cast iron skillet and bake about 30 minutes or until it is a nice golden brown.Take out of the oven and loosen from the pan, beginning with the edges. Turn out onto a cutting board and cut into pie shaped quarters. Serve hot. Store any remaining bread in an airtight bag or foil.

Written and photographed by Diane

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Sy said...

I just wanted to say that this looks great as an alternative to scones, and I've bookmarked it to make soon! I also enjoyed learning about "Farl". Thank you!

Chelseagirl said...

oh, hey-- just saw this one and will try it soon. My Dad is from Ulster and we've had farls before -- not just soda like this, but also tatey (potato) -- but i never knew the origin for the word. Thanks again