Soda bread is one of Northern Ireland’s unique griddle breads, made fresh every morning to be eaten straightaway, or cooked until golden in an Ulster Fry. Unfortunately these breads do not travel well, which is why you must visit Northern Ireland or make your own to experience the real thing. They are delicious with butter and homemade jam, or with savoury food such as smoked salmon, fresh fried eel, or thick dry-cured bacon.
450 g Soft (Plain) flour
7 g Bicarbonate of soda (1½ level teaspoon)
14 g Cream of tartar
20 g Good vegetable or nut oil
284 g Buttermilk, preferably organic
A hot plate/griddle or a heavy based pan.
Makes 8 farls
1. Sieve all the dry ingredients 3-4 times into a bowl.
2. Make a well in the middle, add the buttermilk gradually, and bring the dough together. This recipe makes a soft dough, but the more buttermilk you incorporate, the better the bread tastes.
3. Turn out the dough onto a well floured wooden surface and give it a short, gentle kneading until you have a nice round shape.
4. Divide into two and knead both to form round balls again.
5. Roll these out until you have a fairly thick dough about 10” (25cm) in diameter and cut into quarters.
6. Preheat the griddle. To check the temperature, dust with flour. Once it starts to colour, brush off and turn the heat down. Your griddle is now ready.
7. Place the farls onto the griddle and once you have a good colour on one side (2-3 mins), flip over and cook for 5-10 minutes. The farls will rise into triangular pillows.
8.Test by pressing the middle, if they are still squidgy, you must flip over and bake out the ‘bone’ of raw dough.
9. Cool on racks covered with a damp tea towel to keep soft, or uncovered if you prefer a dryer crust.
Source: Discover Northern Ireland