Soda Farls

Published by Amy

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Much like Soda Bread, Soda Farls are a traditional Irish bread. Easy to make, baked on a griddle, and ready in less than 40 minutes.

Soda Farls recipe from Baking with Granny. Traditional Irish recipe for easy bread, cooked in a pan or gridle.
Soda Farls recipe from Baking with Granny. Traditional Irish bread rolls, made with just 4 ingredients.

If you are looking for an easy, delicious bread, that you can make in less than 40 minutes (start to finish), look no further than Soda Farls!

This traditional Irish bread is not only quick and simple to make, it is also super delicious – not to mention cheap. Both Soda Bread and Soda Farls have a lot of history in Ireland, being a staple food during the Irish famine, due to it’s cheap ingredients, but filling nature.

Historically, soda farls would be made using a griddle over an open fire. Nowadays, you would generally make them on your stove top, with a griddle pan, or simply a frying pan.

Maybe not quite as authentic but definitely more suited to your average modern household setting!

And an easy one to bake for any St Patrick’s Day celebrations.

Irish Soda Farls recipe from Baking with Granny. Authentic soda bread rolls from Ireland.

Ingredients:

Plain Flour
Much like our Soda Bread recipe, plain flour is all that is required for Soda Farls. We add bicarbonate of soda for the rise, so no self-raising flour required. You can also use a wholemeal flour, or even a combination of wholemeal and white flour, should you so desire.

Bicarbonate of Soda
Being a yeast-free bread, soda farls rely on the reaction between the bicarbonate of soda and the acid in the buttermilk, to create bubbles whilst baking, resulting in a lift and rise in the dough. It’s a fun bit of science, much like those volcanos you made at school, with vinegar and bicarbonate.
The bicarbonate of soda is also where they, of course, get their name from.

Salt
For flavour of course. I recommend using sea salt but you can experiment with different kinds of salt to get your perfect flavour. 

Buttermilk
If we’re going for a traditional take on soda farls, it has to be buttermilk. Buttermilk already has it’s own acidity to it, so reacts perfectly with the bicarbonate of soda – no additional ingredients required.
If however you can’t get your hands on buttermilk, or you want the option to make it without, you can substitute with a standard milk (preferably whole-fat or soya, although others can be used too), and a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice, to create the missing acidity. I would always recommend using slightly less milk in this instance, as buttermilk tends to be naturally thicker. See the recipe notes for more info.

Soda Farls recipe from Baking with Granny. Easy t o make Irish bread, served with butter and jam.

What are Soda Farls?

Soda Farls are a yeast-free bread, similar to Soda Bread but instead of baking it in an oven, you bake them on the stove top; traditionally using a griddle but it is also possible to use a frying pan.

Unlike yeast breads, Soda Farls rely on the reaction between the bicarbonate of soda and the acid in the buttermilk to give it it’s rise, as well as it’s familiar flavour. This also makes them incredibly easy to make, in very little time.

How do you make Soda Farls?

Soda Farls are very easy to make. You only need 4 ingredient; flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and buttermilk. You simply combine them all together, being very cautious with your mixing and kneading – like Soda Bread, Soda Farls need a light touch. Then use your hands to flatten the dough into a circle, before cutting into 4 individual triangular rolls.

You then “bake” them on a griddle or frying pan, flipping half way through, ensuring both sides are a lovely golden colour, and your Farls have a nice rise.

Why are they called "Soda Farls"?

The “soda” part – unsurprisingly – comes from the fact that Soda Farls are made with bicarbonate of soda.

The “farls” part however comes from the Gaelic word “fardel”, which means “four part”. So referencing to the way Soda Farls are cut into four pieces before baking.

How do you serve Soda Farls?

Soda Farls are best enjoyed shortly after making, preferably whilst still warm. My favourite way to enjoy them is with a spread of butter and a dollop of jam.

Alternatively they can be a great breakfast addition, used in place of a Morning Roll, with whatever your favourite breakfast roll filling may be.

Or, in perhaps the most iconic way, as part of an Ulster Fry – Ireland’s answer to a cooked breakfast.

Granny's Top Tips

• Much like scones, Soda Farls need a light touch. You don’t want to overwork your dough, or you risk knocking the air out of it before it’s had a chance to bake. The less you can handle it, the better – you want the dough to be just combined and no more.

• No buttermilk? No problem – simply use some regular milk with a little vinegar or lemon juice stirred through, to create the required acidity. See the Recipes Notes for full instructions.

• Keep your griddle/frying pan on a low heat. These are a slow and steady bake, to ensure you get a lovely golden colour, and a sufficent amount of rise.

• Not risen as much as you’d thought they would? You’ve probably just overworked the dough and knocked a bit of the air out. But be sure to check the date on your bicarbonate of soda too – you want it well-within it’s use-by date for very the best rise in your Soda Farls.

Soda Bread Farls recipe from Baking with Granny.

Love this? Try this:

Irish Soda Farls

Traditional Irish bread, made with just 4 ingredients, and cooked on a griddle. Quick and easy Soda Farls.
5 from 4 votes
PRINT RECIPE
Course: Breakfast, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: Irish
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Place your griddle/frying pan on a low heat on your hob to start warming up.
  • Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large bowl. Make a well into the middle before pouring in the buttermilk.
  • Gently stir together, being caution not to mix too vigorously. Once the wet and dry ingredients have started to come together and you can no longer mix with a spoon/spatula, use your floured hands to form it into a soft, slightly sticky dough.
  • Turn the dough onto a well-floured surface and very gently knead it into a loose ball - try not to knead it more than 2-4 turns to do this.
  • Gently flatten out the dough into a circle with your hands, until about 20-25cm in diameter. Cut the circle into four triangles (farls).
  • Transfer the farls to your [dry] pre-heated griddle/frying pan. Allow to bake on a low heat, on one side for 8-10 minutes until golden in colour, before flipping over and repeating on the other side. Your farls should rise a little whilst baking too.
  • Once baked on both side, transfer to a wire rack to cool a little, before serving whilst still warm.

Notes

No buttermilk?
If you are unable to get buttermilk locally, or would prefer a dairy-free option: Simply switch out the buttermilk for 250ml of milk, mixed with 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar, or 1 tbsp lemon juice. Mix about 30 minutes before using, to allow the milk to thicken ever-so slightly.
  • For full explanations for each ingredient, including possible substitutions, see the Ingredients section above.
  • For more tips for success when making Soda Farls, see Granny's Top Tips section above.
  • For swaps & hacks to make these Vegan or Free-from Soda Farls, see the Free-from & Vegan section below.
Soda Farls are best enjoyed the day they are made. They will keep for a day or two in an airtight container but they won't keep their texture very well. Although you can toast them to bring them back to life a little.
Tried this recipe?Tag @bakingwithgranny or use the hashtag #bakingwithgranny!

Free-from & Vegan

Nut-free: There is no nuts in this recipe for Soda Farls but be sure to double check your individual ingredients for any hidden nuts.

Egg-free: There is no eggs used in this recipe but be sure to check your individual ingredients for any hidden egg.

Dairy-free: To make these Soda Farls dairy-free, use 250ml of your dairy-free milk of choice (in place of the buttermilk  in  the recipe), mixed with 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. Prepare your milk mixture about 30 minutes before, which will allow your milk to thicken ever-so slightly.

Vegan: To make these Vegan Soda Farls, use the dairy-free tip above.

N.B. Any advice or suggestions to make recipes “free-from” or vegan are purely that – suggestions. Please be careful to double check all ingredients individually, taking extra caution when serving to those with allergies & intolerances.

5 Responses

  1. 5 stars
    My granny made these when I was younger she was a cook in a farm when she was young and she came from Irish parents
    NO BODY COULD BEAT HER AT MAKING SODA SCONES that is what we called them I made them for my husband using her recipe he thought they were great
    She used buttermilk OR she made the milk from the fridge sour
    Friday night toasted soda scone with toasted cheese !!!

  2. 5 stars
    First time my attempt at baking something new has resembled yours! Usually takes me a few attempts to get my bakes looking pretty but I don’t mind as everything always tastes great. And these are just that! Followed your recipe, instructions to the letter……delicious!

    Off to bake my bread now. Your recipe of course. It’s my staple.

  3. Thanks for the recipe, Amy, i will definitely try it. As a Northern Ireland girl the best way to serve soda farls, which I do, way too often, is as part of an Ulster Fry with potato farls, bacon, steak sausage, and fried egg, not forgetting veg roll. All fried and not healthy but no better way to start the day.

  4. 5 stars
    Another successful recipe from you. Thank you. As with most plain scones I make, I made these farls in my food processor and can recommend doing it this way for a quick, no mess and well risen outcome.

  5. 5 stars
    These turned out perfect! I used to love eating farls but went vegan around a decade ago. It never occurred to me to look for a recipe and turn it vegan!
    I will say if anyone is making them dairy free, the best milk for making vegan buttermilk is soy. It curdles much better due to the higher protein content.
    Thanks so much for this recipe, so pleased!

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Hi! I'm Amy

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Hello, I’m Amy, the voice-behind and creator-of Baking with Granny.

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