Welcome, my hungry friends!
Today you have tuned in for a double feature: two kinds of Irish bread. They might seem quite similar – so similar, in fact, that I have gotten into a fight about which one to call soda bread – but apart from sharing some ingredients and being delicious, they are actually very distinguishable. Especially when you tend to constantly burn one of them (more about that at the end of the second recipe).
But now, off you go!
- 350 g wholemeal flour
- 100 g strong white flour
- 50 g porridge oats
- 1 heaped tsp baking soda
- 300 ml buttermilk
- Salt and sugar to taste
- Preheat oven to 220° C
- Mix dry ingredients
- Add buttermilk. Don’t overknead!
- Bake for 30 min
Pro tip: Line a cake tin with parchment paper.
- 500 g flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 300 ml buttermilk
- 90 ml lukewarm water
- Oil for greasing (depending on how you bake it; I’ll elaborate in time)
- Mix dry ingredients.
- Add buttermilk and water. Don’t overknead!
- Shape the dough into a ball, make it flat and cut it into quarters (= farls)
- Bake – now here comes the tricky part. There are several possibilities:
- The way I learned it in my temporary Northern Irish home is to bake the farls in a hot griddle with a decent amount of oil. Now, many of you might not know what a griddle is. I didn’t know what a griddle is until I saw one in a kitchen in Carrickfergus and to this day I have never again seen one and it might be that it was the only one in existence. But do not despair, there is an alternative:
- The frying pan, the ordinary person’s griddle. The reward: Fluffy, chewy soda farls with a crunchy, golden crust. The problem: The bread is really quick to suffer third degree burns within a very short time. (Too much to justify it with “Röstaromen”.) Therefore you need a good pan, a sufficient amount of oil, flat farls and to resist the temptation of firing up the stove. (Be careful guys, I once made a baby cry because I wasn’t quick enough with my soda bread. It’s a long and nerve wrecking story.)
- For the pragmatists among you: Bake it in the oven for 30 minutes, 200° C.
Pro tip: Have you heard of treacle? It’s yummy! Put it in your soda bread. It’ll be extra chewy. And yummy. (Except maybe if you are one of the strange people who don’t like liquorice. I’ll never understand… Oh wait, I had some English liquorice that wasn’t really nice. If you have only ever tried that and are now under the impressions that you don’t like liquorice, you should try some of the Scandinavian sort. Or Dutch. Or German. I’m sorry, I digress – go back to your baking.)
Tamara L. Nehls
Tamara was obviously listening to the sound of baking bread as she wrote this.