An Improved Northern Irish Soda Farl

brodie self raising cake pastry flourThe title of this is a bit misleading; it would be difficult to improve upon the simplicity and taste of an Irish soda farl the way it’s been made for a couple of centuries a more.  Three or four simple ingredients, the right amount of heat, and you end up with a very tasty bread “cake” that is delicious hot off the griddle and slathered with melting butter.

However, as pointed out in this post, “The Trouble With Wheat,” North American wheat is not the same as Irish wheat. As a result, using all-purpose flour in North America will not provide you with a soda farl that is nearly the same as those you might find in Ireland, either in the south or North.

There is a way around this however, for those of us in North America who want to replicate the taste and texture as close as possible to the real thing. And that is instead of using All-Purpose Flour, use Cake and Pastry Flour. It is a bit more expensive but the end result is a better soda farl in North America.

In my original recipe for the Irish soda farl, here, it simply calls for flour.  Elsewhere, I’ve written about the improvement of using cake and pastry flour – however, I’ve been using something that is even an improvement upon that!

In Canada in many grocery stores, a brand of flour called “Brodie” is available that is a “Self Raising” cake and pastry flour. What this means is that it already has the salt and baking soda (or baking powder which contains baking soda) mixed in and pre-sifted.

For the person longing for a genuine Irish style soda farl, it means the only other ingredient you need is buttermilk. You don’t have to worry about sifting baking powder or soda and salt with your flour and it makes it that much easier to make the farls.

flour in mixing bowl

Self Raising Cake & Pastry Flour In Mixing Bowl

In fact, it is so easy that I do not even bother measuring the ingredients when I make soda farls with this flour! All I do is basically eye up the quantity of flour as I pour it into a mixing bowl, make a well in the flour, and pour in buttermilk and start mixing.  If I’ve not added enough buttermilk, I’ll splash a bit more in until the dough is the right consistency.  If I’ve added too much buttermilk (which is rare), all I have to do is sprinkle in flour into the dough until the correct consistency has been achieved.

It’s that easy that even my 11 year old son can do it and there is no need for measuring cups or measuring spoons.

However, if you insist on a recipe, it’s pretty close to:

  • 2 cups Self Raising Cake & Pastry Flour
  • 1 cup Buttermilk

Pour Buttermilk Into “Well” Made In The Flour

But even this is a guideline. Sometimes, flour will be drier than at other times, and a bit more buttermilk will be needed. What is better than simply following a recipe is  getting to know the consistency of the dough that you like to make soda farls with.  Once you have that down, you’ll never need to measure ingredients as long as you are using self raising cake and pastry flour.

I do not know if Brodie XXX Self Raising Cake & Pastry flour is available outside of Canada, so what do you do if you don’t live there?

Simple – get Homepride Self Raising Flour From Amazon.  But this does not contain salt so you may want to consider adding some if you enjoy your soda farls a touch on the savoury side.

More Reading:

Northern Irish Soda Farls

The Trouble With Wheat

Currant Soda Farls


9 comments on “An Improved Northern Irish Soda Farl

  1. […] If you’re looking for a very easy recipe that involves virtually no measuring of ingredients, be sure to also see “An Improved Northern Irish Soda Farl.” […]

  2. Jill McFadden says:

    Thank you so much for this! Perfect soda farl recipe.. just like home. Me ma used to make them, and this recipe is exactly what I remember a “Norn Irish” soda farl to be.

    You are my hero!

    • dasrecipes says:

      Jill.. glad to be of help to you 🙂 My son and I enjoy them all the time. And yes, using the self raising cake and pastry flour makes the soda farls just like the ones back home, doesn’t it?

      Hope you enjoy them often!

  3. Teresa Kennedy says:

    I was very disappointed with Brodiexxx..I was making apple pies and when I used the Brodiexxx pastry flour there was no directions on the bag???S0 I guessed with the water amount and my pies were a flop..the crust was terrible/ I guess i won’t be referring this product to any of my family or friends. Thank you for your time in reading this comment, that’s if you read it..

    a dissapointed buyer of your product…

    • dasrecipes says:

      Sorry to hear you were disappointed. I think it’s a wonderful flour and is excellent for Irish soda farls as well as pastries where one wants some rising to go on.

      It’s not my product – I just recommend it especially for soda farls – and you’d likely need to follow a recipe for pie crusts. Just like any other flour, they wouldn’t put a recipe on the bag as they wouldn’t know what you would be using it for.

      I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t want to use self-raising flour for pie crusts in the first place – but regular cake and pastry flour would do.

    • dasrecipes says:

      As well, if you are making a pie crust, you’d want to use lard or butter for a flaky crust. If all you used was water, it would definitely not turn out very well.

      This looks pretty close to what I use for pie crust:

      There is only 1/4 cup of water… and it should be chilled.. as cold as possible, for best results.

  4. Joe Mama says:

    Thanks for the Soda Farl recipe. My wife is from Norn Iron and we would bring back Soda Farls when we visited. I decided a while back just to cook my own. I have used your recipe and it is excellent. I just use White Lilly all purpose four and it turns out very good. I make these when I have an urge for and Ulster Fry. I go by one of the local British Stores and pick up some Bangers and Potato Farls.

    One thing you comment above about Soda Farls in the North and South of Ireland. I’ve never seen a Soda Farl in the South. I think the Soda Farl is unique to the Norn Iron peoples. Soda bread in the south and it is completely different. Thanks for the recipe.

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